Leaders Meet to Discuss Opioid Addiction in the Red River Valley

Twenty people have died of drug overdose in the Fargo area this year alone.

One of the main focuses of this meeting was the fact that North Dakota has just received two million dollars through the 21st Century Cures Act.

“What we’re trying to do at the federal level with the 21st Century Cures Act is to bring the resources down to the local level so when we have the experts pulled together like this, working together, we help them get the resources they need to do the job,” Senator John Hoeven said.

And that money is just the first of many waves of funding to come.

Some of that money will go towards raising awareness of resources to battle addiction.

“Everyone has got a role here and we’ve all got to work together so when somebody needs help, not only can they get that help, but they know how to access that help, where to go,” Senator Hoeven said.

The problems surrounding drug addiction are not limited to prevention.

There’s also the question of how to re–assimilate former addicts into the community and there are discussions going on in State legislature about how to deal with that.

State Senator Judy Lee said there have been talks on the state level about shortening prison terms for minor drug offenses and find ways to encourage employers to hire offenders after they go through treatment.

“Provide support for them as they’re moving into the work place so they can succeed in the work place, they can get a decent job, they’re able to get their feet planted a little more firmly and they should be able to move forward,” State Senator Judy Lee said.

And Senator Hoeven expressed an interest in finding non–prison alternatives.

“We talked about juvenile drug court, alternatives to incarceration . We have to adjust how we deal with this problem,” Senator Hoeven said.

The tone in the room was optimistic, but as Senator Hoeven repeated throughout the meeting, this is only the beginning of what is to come.

If you know someone struggling with addiction here are some links to useful resources.

First Step Recovery




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