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Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum hosted Recovery Reinvented yesterday...

    BISMARCK, N.D. - Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum hosted Recovery Reinvented yesterday, a daylong event at the Bismarck Event Center focused on ways to reinvent addiction recovery through innovative implementation in North Dakota.

    They were joined by national and state addiction recovery experts and more than 800 attendees from throughout the state, including health care providers and administrators, business and community leaders, faith-based organizations, Native American community leaders and educators.

    "Addiction is destroying families, affecting businesses and impacting communities across North Dakota," Gov. Burgum said. "We have the opportunity to change the dialogue and to inspire individual and community investment in recovery through public-private partnerships, innovative solutions and personal engagement."

    The governor and first lady are committed to finding solutions across the full continuum of care: prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery. Recovery Reinvented offered an opportunity to focus on recovery, kicking off long-term efforts to address the stigma of addiction and reduce the shame associated with the disease. A similar event focused on prevention was announced for April 11.

    "I would not be here today if not for my recovery, and I am not alone," Helgaas Burgum said in her address, describing her own struggle with alcohol addiction and 15 years of recovery. "We are working to reinvent recovery by taking our advocacy to the streets and asking our citizens to begin talking about addiction, to help eliminate the shame and stigma of addiction and treat it like the chronic disease that it is. There is no shame in addiction, and there is so much hope and possibility in recovery. It is time to dream again."

    To help prevent opioid overdoses, which claim the lives of more than 90 Americans every day, Burgum signed an executive order today directing all cabinet agencies to collaborate with local and tribal governments and law enforcement agencies to make naloxone available to first responders, community leaders and individual opioid users and their family members. Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose in emergency situations.

    Attendees received training in naloxone administration, and two single-dose kits of naloxone were available for free to interested participants at the event.

    Several other initiatives also were announced during the event, including:

    - A recovery innovation competition with a $50,000 prize for the creation and implementation of a sustainable business plan that improves recovery services. More details will be provided on

    - A partnership between the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the nonprofit White Bison Inc. to create "wellbriety" programs focused on culturally centered care that supports healing around drug use, grief and intergenerational trauma in concert with local tribal and community programs.

    - A $280,000 community grant program for opioid prevention and treatment in tribal communities that will support increasing access to evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery support services.

    - Free peer support training - open to any interested individuals, groups or businesses - that provides an opportunity to extend support for recovery beyond the treatment system and into communities to provide greater social support for those in recovery.

    - Free Through Recovery, a program designed to increase access to community-based behavioral health services, including care coordination, recovery support and peer support, increasing community engagement by nontraditional providers. These efforts will be supported with $7 million appropriated by the state Legislature as part of a new justice reinvestment initiative. Organizations interested in providing such services can find an application at

    "We all have an opportunity to be a part of reinventing recovery in North Dakota," said Pamela Sagness, Behavioral Health Division director at the North Dakota Department of Human Services.  "Visit to get involved by changing the stigma of addiction, becoming a peer support specialist, or participating in new state initiatives."

    Recognition was also given to a number of impactful community members for their existing efforts to implement effective and innovative solutions for addictions. Award recipients were:

    - Nick Stavros, CEO, Community Medical Services, for his work in opening North Dakota's first opioid treatment program

    - Adam Martin, founder, F5 Project, for efforts to support and deter repeat criminal offenses

    - Monica Mayer, North Segment councilwoman, MHA Nation, for ongoing work to support drug and alcohol initiatives for Native Americans

    - Judith Roberts, founder and administrator, Hope Manor, for advocacy and leadership in developing sober living facilities in North Dakota

    - Mike Kaspari, co-founder, First Step Recovery, in posthumous recognition for his lasting impact in providing treatment care

    - Sen. Rich Wardner and his wife, Kayleen, for legislative leadership and personal commitment toward changing the lives of women who struggle with addiction.

    The event concluded with the launch of a new advertising campaign called "Dream Again," aimed at supporting individuals in recovery by raising awareness about addiction as a chronic but treatable disease, overcoming the shame and stigma of addiction, and preventing individuals from developing a substance use disorder.

    More information about statewide initiatives and ongoing efforts will be available at or


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger says any attempt to do away with the state's citizen-initiative process would be met with strong resistance from residents.
     Jaeger told a panel studying the initiated measure process Tuesday that North Dakotans have been allowed to put proposed laws and constitutional amendments directly to a vote for more than a century. He says "it's part of our fabric."
     North Dakota began studying the citizen-initiative process this year. It was spurred largely by voters' surprise approval of medicinal marijuana that was funded mostly by out-of-state interests and another successful ballot measure funded solely by a California billionaire that amended the state constitution.
     The 19-member panel made up of lawmakers and citizen representatives will make recommendations for the Legislature to consider when it reconvenes in 2019.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota attorney general's office says it won't conduct a special investigation for the chancellor of the North Dakota University System. Chancellor Mark Hagerott asked the state on Monday to investigate what he calls attempts by people to manipulate his office into influencing the 2016 primary election for governor. Chief Deputy Attorney General Troy Seibel wrote to Hagerott late Monday to decline the request, saying it was outside the scope of the office's role.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The leader of the Standing Rock Sioux and an attorney for private North Dakota landowners both believe the builder of the Dakota Access pipeline got off lightly when it settled allegations by state regulators that it violated rules during construction. State officials have defended the agreement reached last week with Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. ETP says the agreement proves the company is a good corporate citizen.

     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - This year's Norsk Hostfest celebration is getting underway in Minot. It's the 40th year for the Hostfest, which is billed as the largest Scandinavian heritage festival in North America. Each year it draws about 60,000 people from around the world for food, music and other entertainment. It starts today and runs through Saturday. Entertainment includes comedian Jeff Dunham, legendary bands The Doobie Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys, and Celtic Thunder.




   (Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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