It takes a village: Cando community offers support to local substance abuse treatment facility

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Nearly 90,000 North Dakotans use illegal drugs and about 40,000 abuse alcohol each year, according to, a website that offers addiction support.

The Heartview Foundation is a private nonprofit in North Dakota that has been offering support and treatment for substance abuse for nearly 60 years.

The Heartview Foundation offers outpatient treatment services and has two residential substance abuse treatment facilities, one in Bismarck and one in Cando.

In its history, at least one person from each state in the U.S. and from every province in Canada has received treatment at Heartview.

“Substance use treatment providers are incredibly important to help people reclaim and regain their lives and rejoin their communities,” said Executive Director Kurt Snyder.

Heartview Cando differs from the Bismarck location because it utilizes horse therapy and has a big community backing.

Snyder says the community support leads to many people staying in Cando when they finish their treatment.

John Mikesh, a Heartview Cando employee, who completed treatment at the same facility, says he uses his own story to inspire others.

“I like to use, you know, my history too, to remind them that, you know, things can change drastically. Never in a million years, did I think that I’d be on this side of the desk, you know, and I think they really relate with that.”

Greg Westlind, a State Representative in Cando, says serving on Heartview’s board of directors helps him gain an understanding to be able to write policies for recovery services in the state.

“It’s a real pleasure to be in a small community like this and see people that were patients out here interact with the community, get jobs in the community, and live in the community,” said Rep. Westlind. “It’s a good feeling to be able to be part of helping Heartview with different issues legislatively.”

The Director of Operations, Shari Timms, says that Heartview would not be able to function without help from others.

She says many local businesses support patients in a number of ways during and after their treatment.

“Country Bowling, they have just us there on Saturdays so our patients can go,” said Timms. “It’s confidential. Nobody else comes in. We also have the pharmacy which we’re there every day, multiple times a day and they’re wonderful to work with.”

Westlind can attest to the fact that Cando is a recovery-friendly community.

“Some people look down on people that have been in recovery, and Cando doesn’t. They accept recovery out here. They accept people.”

An important part of recovery is having a strong support system.

The Heartview Foundation has its own private social network for people who have completed treatment as a way for people to find support and make new friends.

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