Rep. Kelly Armstrong Holds Roundtable on Addiction in Grand Forks
What works for one person may not work for another
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Addiction is an issue that doesn’t discriminate. North Dakota Representative Kelly Armstrong held a roundtable to hear how local groups are tackling the issue.
A theme that many organizations shared with Armstrong is the need for support. That’s everything from support through treatment to finding housing.
Amber Anderson, a former meth addict, is now using her experience to support others through a group called the F5 Project that helps former inmates.
“I can use this story, the emotions, and the pain, and the trauma and the things I’ve experienced to help other people,” she said.
She started using meth in her teens and went through numerous attempts at treatment.
“When I looked in the mirror I didn’t know who I was anymore. My eyes were black, there was nothing there at all, I wanted to feel but I didn’t want to feel, it was like I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired,” she said.
She found the 12-step program is what worked for her. But what works for one person may not work for another.
Local leaders also spoke about using primary care as an outlet to tackle addiction early on to helping addicts coming out of prison.
“This needs to be targeted, this needs to be done well, it needs to be done efficiently, but the only place addiction and criminal justice reform really gets solved is at the local level,” Armstrong said.
People spoke about the strides the community has made towards helping addicts, like increasing availability of naloxone for first responders.
“There’s always going to be frustrations but they’re doing really good work here, and we need to be able to replicate what they’re doing in Grand Forks not only across the state of North Dakota, but across the whole country,” Armstrong said.
As for Amber? She’s now three years sober.
“It’s just that beacon of hope for other people,” she said.
The roundtable was part of Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown’s Call to Action on Addiction initiative.