Minot receives Bush Foundation grant to battle opioid epidemic

The Bush Foundation has awarded Minot a grant of $208,000 to develop strategies to address the opioid epidemic and create a regional hub for treatment and family services.

“It will help us keep organizing and getting data and identifying programs that will support the community’s effort in battling opioids,” Minot Mayor Chuck Barney said.

He said the grant particularly will assist the community in moving forward with an action plan based on the work of the Mayor’s Committee on Addiction, which is drafting its final report.

Among activities to be funded by the grant are:

– conduct a comprehensive needs analysis.

– generate Minot area-specific data on the impact of the opioid epidemic.

– identify gaps in services and road blocks to care.

– create a comprehensive hub-and-spoke treatment approach and establish a Community Response Organization to serve as the hub.

– work with the North Dakota Health Department to craft a statewide policy for the disposal of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

– increase community awareness of opioid addiction.

The city also wants to develop relationships with members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation to support tribal involvement in addiction problem solving. It hopes to send representatives to visit similarly populated areas to learn about novel solutions to mitigate opioid addiction.

Activities are to be completed by March 31, 2020.

Paul Stroklund, a member of the Mayor’s Committee on Addiction, is drafting the final report based on the work of subcommittees that have been meeting since last July. Barney said he anticipates that work to be finalized, possibly by next week. He said the draft report will go to the full committee and then to the city council, possibly in April. Public input is encouraged at each of those steps in the process.

After that time, Barney said, he anticipates dissolving the mayor’s committee and forming a new action committee that will carry on the work outlined in the final report. Having Bush grant dollars available will enable the new committee to perform the research and plan implementation required.