Hundreds participate in A Day for Prevention to discuss ways to prevent substance abuse; several initiatives announced

<< All News Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 01:30 pm

Gov. Doug Burgum speaks at A Day for Prevention on Wednesday, April 11, 2018, at Bismarck State CollegeBISMARCK, N.D. – More than 500 people attended A Day for Prevention today, a first-of-its-kind event for North Dakota that brought together national, regional and state experts to discuss public policies, strategies and resources that work to prevent substance abuse. Thousands more watched online or participated in community viewing events in nine cities across the state.

“Addiction touches every family, every state agency and every community in North Dakota, with devastating consequences and enormous costs that often go unmeasured,” said Gov. Doug Burgum, who with First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum kicked off the event hosted by the North Dakota Department of Human Services (DHS). “We need to start treating addiction like the chronic disease it is, and we need a new approach. By moving resources upstream to support data-driven, outcome-based prevention efforts, we will save lives and money.”

“Substance abuse and addiction is a community problem requiring a community solution,” said Pamela Sagness, Behavioral Health Division director at DHS. “We are committed to investing in effective prevention to save lives and resources.”

Announcements were made throughout the event at Bismarck State College, including:

  • The Office of Recovery Reinvented is now accepting proposals for the first-ever Innovate Recovery Competition to help address the need for greater recovery services for North Dakotans. Potential solutions could include sober living, recovery community organizations, addressing the workforce shortage for recovery specialists, peer support, solutions that reach rural North Dakota communities, youth engagement, erasing the shame and stigma of addiction, or other areas not yet envisioned. The winner will receive up to $50,000. Visit for details and to apply. Winner to be announced at Recovery Reinvented 2018, Sept. 5 at the Fargo Civic Center.
  • The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division is offering the Parents Lead Mini Grant Program, a new funding opportunity for North Dakota public schools. The program is designed to assist schools with local implementation of Parents Lead, an evidence-based underage drinking prevention program supporting parents and professionals working with at-risk families. Up to 15 schools will be awarded $1,000 each. Visit for details and to apply.
  • The North Dakota Highway Patrol and Department of Human Services are working in collaboration to provide an anonymous, statewide “Text-a-Tip” tip line that can be used to help keep illegal substances out of communities and allow law enforcement to locate distributors of illegal drugs. Citizen participation has always been a big part of crime prevention, and the anonymous tip line can serve as a force multiplier by empowering citizens to get involved to keep citizens safe.
  • Responding to the increase of overdose deaths in the state, attendees received training in naloxone administration. Two single-dose kits of naloxone were made available for free to interested participants at the Bismarck event and at community viewing and participation events in Dickinson, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot, Jamestown, Devils Lake, Rolla, Valley City and Williston. Naloxone is a prescription medication that temporarily reverses an opioid overdose. Under North Dakota law, any individual – family, friends or community member – is protected from civil or criminal liability for giving naloxone for a suspected opioid overdose.
  • The Behavioral Health Division has developed a web-based toolkit at to assist communities in assessing, planning, and implementing effective prevention strategies. The toolkit provides communities the opportunity to target the problem, find resources, build support and do what works by implementing effective strategies and programs.

Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford also spoke at the event, sharing his experience of prevention efforts in Watford City while serving as mayor there during the state’s oil boom.

For those who missed the event, the recording of A Day for Prevention and any resources shared during the day will be available at

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