Medical Minute: addiction recovery efforts in Minot

MINOT, N.D. - Earlier this week, North Dakota First Lady Kathryn Burgum made her way to the Magic City to challenge us to be a healthy recovery community.

This is something Minot has been working toward, ever since former Mayor Chuck Barney started the Committee on Addiction.

People with experience recovering from addiction should have a voice in how to design a recovery program, at least that's how many in North Dakota see it.

“Bringing the faces of real people from Minot that are helping navigate that and have navigated it themselves, to now being able to do that in a professional role. Bringing them to the table,” said Eric Bonness, Free Through Recovery administrator.

One of those real people is North Dakota's first lady, whose battle with alcohol addiction laid the foundation for her 'Recovery Reinvented' initiative. Now, she's fighting to end the assumptions about those struggling with addiction.

“Stigma is what keeps people from reaching out for help. So if we eliminate the stigma we can save more lives and really have an opportunity to reach our full potential as a state,” she said.

Minot's new Recovery Community Organization puts that idea into action. Half the members of their executive board are in long-term addiction recovery.

“The folks who are on our board have been through a lot of the different services that are available in the community and have that unique perspective on the fact that there's a lot of different ways to find recovery, and to find sobriety,” said Scott Burlingame, RCO board’s chair.

Putting decisions on treating addiction in the hands of those who've been through it before.

Minot's RCO would be the first to organize in North Dakota.