Tide might be turning on opioid abuse awareness

Last week, Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma and City Manager Tom Barry attended an invitation-only event, which began with a tour of the White House for leaders from the Dakotas and Wyoming and concluded with question and answer sessions with department representatives.

Roads, jobs and technology were top concerns for the North Dakota representatives. Also of concern was natural gas capture and North Dakota’s Unmanned Aviation System development, with its recently granted permission to fly beyond line of sight.

Then something unexpected happened. Kellyanne Conway, who was not scheduled to speak, appeared and addressed the delegation on the opioid crisis and the administration’s response, including a $6 million commitment to treatment and prevention.

Opioid abuse pushed its way onto the agenda.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, this year’s Recovery Reinvented returns to the Fargo Civic Center, seeking to build on the momentum generated by the 2017 inaugural event, says North Dakota First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, who has championed efforts to improve treatment and recovery services in the state.

Former Minot Mayor Chuck Barney sought not to influence the administration to supplant his but went out of his way to express support for continuation of a task force to address the opioid issue. Local police have adopted practices for dealing with overdose victims.

New facilities have opened, including in Minot and in tribal territory. As Minot Daily News readers will learn in a scheduled blockbuster feature, a Minot facility is sporting a tremendously optimistic success rate.

It’s an election season, which brings an array of politicians to the MDN offices, virtually every candidate continues to address the issue.

Times have changed. Just a few years ago, few wanted to admit there even was a serious problem in the community. That isn’t even debatable.

Now it is also not debatable that the crisis is on the forefront of public discussion. Solutions stem from, first, recognition.