North Dakota communities and tribes are working together and investing in substance abuse prevention with the common goal of supporting the health and safety of individuals, families, businesses and communities.
The North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division is hosting training through Friday July 26 at the Quality Inn in Bismarck for the 27 community grantees who are implementing substance abuse prevention efforts to address local priorities, including underage drinking, adult binge drinking and prescription drug abuse.
“Effective prevention relies on the active involvement of multiple community partners working together to address complex problems,” said Laura Anderson, the division’s assistant director.
Division representatives and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America are training the participating local public health units and tribes on using data to drive practice, implementing best practice strategies, and sustaining positive outcomes. The training also enables community representatives from across the state to come together and share their successes and discuss opportunities for collaboration.
Anderson invites individuals to join these community representatives in making a positive change in the community, by taking one or more of the action steps below.
- Identify the issues unique to your community. Visit sund.nd.gov to find data specific to your area of the state.
- Familiarize yourself with strategies proven to work. Visit prevention.nd.gov for more information.
- Start at home. Be a leader and positive role model. Visit parentslead.org for useful information, tools and resources.
- Get involved with a local coalition, community group or your city government. Partner with law enforcement, schools, faith groups, health departments and others working toward prevention of alcohol-related consequences.
- Strengthen or implement policies within your community, schools, organizations, alcohol establishments and other local businesses. Policies are one of the most effective and long-lasting prevention strategies. They are cost effective and create an environment where health and safety are promoted.
- Advocate for prevention.
Anderson said that over the past seven years the agency has received and awarded federal discretionary funds to communities to help them develop local prevention infrastructure. Prevention efforts are producing results.
The percentage of North Dakota high school students who report having their first drink before age 13 has decreased from 32.3 percent in 1995 to 14.5 percent in 2017, she said. Current alcohol use among this age group has also fallen from 60.7 percent to 29.1 percent from 1995 to 2017.
The Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division is responsible for reviewing and identifying service needs and activities in the state's behavioral health system to ensure health and safety and access to quality services. It also establishes quality assurance standards for the licensure of substance use disorder program services and facilities and provides policy leadership in partnership with public and private entities. For more information, visit behavioralhealth.nd.gov.