Congressional funding looks to reverse North Dakota’s opioid crisis

Published: Oct. 19, 2017 at 8:18 AM CDT
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Health care and law enforcement agencies are putting $2 million to use, combating the state’s opioid crisis. The federal government approved the grant earlier this year, after drug arrests in the state more than doubled in the past five years.

To fight the state's opioid crisis, local, state and private providers are participating in a 2-day training, learning how each sector can help.

“This grant helps us to cultivate relationships with prescribers and docs in those small communities in hopes that they will start to provide some of the medications and medication assisted treatment for opiate use disorder,” said Heartview Foundation Director Kurt Snyder.

Of the 2 million dollars granted by Congress, $700,000 will go toward state initiatives, including Project Echo, a program adapted from New Mexico that aims to give rural providers the tools to treat addiction. $1.2 million will go to 9 different communities, including Bismarck.

"Our goal is prevention and we are going to be educating first responders on the use of Narcan to be able to respond to opioid overdose situations. And then also provide them with the Narcan to be able to administer that on sight if needed,” said Renae Moch, a director with Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health.

Four different tribes will also receive funding. Ila McKay with the Spirit Lake Nation says the crisis has made its way to children.

"We're seeing a lot of our youth who are beginning to use. So we wanted to do a lot of prevention and we want to stop this problem so that we can have productive citizens,” said McKay.

$100,000 will be used for collecting data and reporting to the government on the effectiveness of the programs. Congress has not made a decision whether to renew the funding next year.