Uptick in the fentanyl crisis in North Dakota

Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 6:39 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Fentanyl use is on the rise in North Dakota. For residents in Bismarck and Mandan, there are resources to help with the opioid crisis.

In the past year, Ideal Option has opened up a second clinic to improve access and allow more people to get same-day appointments.

“The fentanyl crisis in 2022 definitely increased from the previous year. As just here in North Dakota, we saw an uptick of the patient population related to the fentanyl crisis,” said Trevor Stavig, nurse practitioner.

The Heartview Foundation has received a grant to work with both local hospitals and police to take a proactive approach to addiction.

“To bridge the gap between people going into the emergency room after an overdose and utilizing Narcan within that overdose and helping to bridge that hospital stay directly into treatment and recovery services,” said Jessica Brewster, chief operating officer.

The Heartview Foundation is serving 190 patients in their opioid treatment program. 50% of their residential wait list has identified fentanyl as their drug of choice.

“Yes, so they would initially work with hospital staff, and hospital staff would provide them with information related to services surrounding the grant. And if the patient was agreeable, they would be connected with a recovery coach who is somebody that has lived experience with opiate use and lived experience with recovery,” said Brewster.

There are a couple of reasons opioid usage is on the rise.

“I would say probably access is probably the number one reason why there is an increase in the fentanyl use around here as it is getting here easier, it’s becoming cheaper. So you add those two together, you’re just adding fuel to the fire,” said Stavig.

Both Ideal Option clinics in Bismarck see around 20 patients a day, and the majority of them are people between the ages of 20 and 28.

Between January and November of last year, there were 121 overdoses and 18 deaths in Bismarck-Mandan.

Ideal Option is located at 549 Airport Road and 1221 W Divide Ave. and The Heartview Foundation is located at 101 East Broadway in Bismarck.