Action needed for traction

Mayor’s Committee on Addiction moves toward developing action plan

Members of the Minot Mayor’s Committee on Addiction indicated it is time to come out with action steps after three mon- ths of subcommittee information -gathering.

The committee, which began meeting in early July, set a Dec. 1 deadline for subcommittees to produce their action plans.

“We are having a lot of meetings and they are getting a lot of information. But we need to come to conclusions,” said Minot Public Schools Supt. Mark Vollmer, chairman of the aftercare subcommittee.

“It’s time we start formalizing some of this and developing a comprehensive plan,” he said. “If we don’t start formalizing, we are going to lose traction.”

Mayor Chuck Barney, committee chairman, agreed and will be arranging for subcommittee chairpersons to meet ahead of the Dec. 1 deadline to coordinate the subjects and structures of those action plans.

Barney said his goal for the subcommittees was to determine the roadblocks to and gaps in services for those struggling with addiction and their families.

“I think we have done that. Now it’s time to pull it together,” he said.

The committee may have funds to work with if grant applications prove fruitful. The committee has applied for one grant and is writing for a second.

Nancy Bommelman of Minot presented the committee with information on properties that would be available for purchase for a treatment center. She said five hotels are for sale and could be looked at for a residential facility.

Sheriff Bob Barnard spoke of ongoing efforts with the state since 2013 to establish a treatment facility. He said his goal is to have a facility that can serve as an alternative to jail for many drug offenders.

“I don’t know if it is achievable or not, but we are making some headway,” he said. “It comes down to funding.”

However, he said, incarceration has been a successful path to sobriety for some people, and he hopes to find out more from former inmates in recovery about what did work. That information can provide options for improving outcomes for other addicted inmates, he said.

There also has been interest in the community in establishing a transitional living facility for people completing treatment. The committee expects to have a conversation on that topic at a future meeting.