Dakota Medical Foundation Hosts Forum on Preventing Youth Addiction
The younger kids receive education or intervention, the better
FARGO, N.D. — The Dakota Medical Foundation teamed up with LevelUp Fargo to put on a summit on preventing addiction among young people.
They say the main points to focus on are prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery, and that addiction needs to be treated like any other medical condition.
“We remove the stigma that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. We need to treat addiction as a disease,” Pat Traynor, executive director of the Dakota Medical Foundation, said.
The earlier education and intervention happens, the better.
“If you delay months, if you delay years, the addiction is much less likely to occur,” Traynor said.
LevelUp Fargo put together a survey that found that the more drugs a child uses, the less connected they are socially. That result is even more dramatic in middle school.
Even though the trend may be striking, organizers say drug use prevention has been getting slightly better over the years.
“The trend is a slight decrease in all substances, with things leveling off with chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes, but other drugs, alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, and other drugs, are starting to have a slightly downward trend,” Chris Rood, the program director for LevelUp Fargo, said.
The mayors of Fargo, Moorhead, Dilworth, Horace, and West Fargo are all on the Mayors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Addiction to help the fight.
“For instance, opioids in [people’s] houses. Get rid of them. It’s not maybe your kid, but it’s whoever uses the bathroom. We’re trying to make sure general information is out there so they automatically know, that they need to watch their family members when they’re on opioid use, because they can be addicted, and themselves, and be alert to it, and they need to watch where their opioids are in their homes,” Mayor Del Rae Williams of Moorhead said.
Another session will be held Friday, June 8 at the Dakota Medical Foundation to discuss federal grants for fighting drug addiction.