For the first time since 2016, drug overdose deaths decreased in the state.
The North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services attributes this in part to federal funding they started receiving in 2017.
The money was used for education and to make Naloxone more widely available. It’s the emergency drug used to treat a narcotic overdose.
Despite the drop, the Assistant Director of the Behavioral Health Division says prevention efforts are still just as crucial.
She says preventing even more overdoses in the future, will come from educating the community about who is at risk.
They’re also partnering with the NDSU pharmacy program, to help pharmacists assess risk, and be able to prescribe Naloxone along with a patient’s opioid prescription.
The Assistant Director, Laura Anderson says, “One death is always too many, but seeing that trend in the opposite direction is really promising that those efforts have been meaningful in making a difference.”
Since 2017, the department has distributed over 4,000 Naloxone kits across the state.