Drug arrests in North Dakota have more than doubled in the past 5 years, thousands of them being opioid related.
A partnership between Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health and Heartview foundation is putting $180 thousand dollars towards reversing the opioid crisis, and they aren’t the only community on board.
Emily Medalen found out how much progress has been made since the STR grant was awarded by the state last year.
The STR Opioid Crisis Grant gave funding to Bismarck, Minot, Grand Forks, Fargo, and Valley City last year.
It stands for State Targeted Response to the crisis, and the department of human services awarded the grant with hopes to strengthen local efforts to treat opioid misuse.
After one year, it’s made a powerful impact.
Last June, the ND Department of Human Services granted 2 million dollars to 5 ND communities in an effort to combat the rising opioid crisis.
They gave out these grants with hope to treat and prevent addiction.
“The main thing is seeing how people are recognizing opioid use disorder as a health issue, and reacting to it that way,” says Laura Anderson, Department of Human Services.
In the last year, they’ve purchased and are still distributing 4,000 naloxone kits throughout the state.
“Even just the increase of Naloxone in the state, we’ve heard so many stories in the last year of lives being saved,” says Anderson.
They’ve also more than doubled the availability of another form of treatment – a tablet that combats opioid dependency called Buprenorphine. Kurt Snyder with Heartview Foundation says this is a small, but important step.
“We still need more perscribers doing this work. So that’s definitely a big piece of it,” says Snyder.
“We have increased the number of providers who are wavered to perscribe Buprenorphine from 18 to 40 in the year, so that just increases access,” says Anderson.
Snyder says that with easier access to these treatment methods, more people have been given a second chance after an overdose.
“We’ve seen a lot more saves. We have seen some expanded service ability, too,” Snyder added.
He says these services were a big help in about 400 people in the state getting treatment this past year.
“It is very rewarding to see those people that come as broken souls, and that are hopeless, to actually find a way,” says Snyder.
With the second grant starting to go into effect now, he hopes even more can get the help they need this year.
If you are someone who would like to help out at Heartview Foundation or find volunteer opportunities regarding addiction help, click the link below.