HEALTH: Tackling community issues together – HenzoDaily

Tackling community issues together – Bunady

Tackling community issues together – HenzoDaily

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The opioid epidemic is rising and as such, it is becoming increasingly important for local health organizations to band together to overcome substance abuse issues.

KX News has more on how North Dakota is doing just that at Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health’s quarterly Behavioral Health Coalition Meeting.

“It’s really important to have us coming together as a group in the community to work on this subject matter,” explained substance abuse prevention coordinator Susan Kahler. “We have about 112 members through this coalition which is focused on the continuing of care, on prevention, treatment, and recovery.”

One new member of the coalition is the Drug Demand Reduction Program, created by the Department of Defense in 1981. The program was inactive for several years due to a lack of funding but now has returned to North Dakota.

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“What the Drug Demand Reduction Program intends on doing,” organizer Lee Renner stated, “is collaborating with local law enforcement, community-based organizations, and coalitions to work together to try to prevent misuse and substance abuse, prevention techniques and things like that in the community.”

As a Lakota helicopter pilot, Renner’s role in the task force is unique.

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“We have a camera on the bottom of our helicopter,” Renner continued, “and we assist our law enforcement agencies with aerial observation when they have anything related to drugs.”

The coalition also heard updates from existing members of the community such as the West Central Human Service Center, which provides a detox facility for those struggling with addiction.

“As far as our withdrawal management,” stated a representative from the center, “we continue to have 10 beds available at the basin facility. Those referrals, a lot of times, like 54%, is just citizens, residents, walking in because of word of mouth and knowing it.”

Kahler, meanwhile, says these coalition meetings play a vital role in the success of each organization.

“We’re able to tackle a project all together and help each other out,” Kahler stated, “rather than trying to do this on our own.”

If you’re part of a local organization that’s focused on prevention, treatment, and recovery, Kahler encourages you to reach out and join the coalition.

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