Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 03:30pm

Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Burgum today hosted the third Recovery Reinvented, a daylong event at the Bismarck Event Center focused on ways to reinvent recovery through eliminating the stigma of addiction, educating on the brain science of addiction and empowering recovery support in communities.

They were joined by national and state addiction recovery experts, more than 1,200 people attending in person and hundreds more watching online across the state, including people in recovery and their families, behavioral health and health care providers and administrators, business and community leaders, faith-based organizations, Native American leaders and educators.

“North Dakota is a very special place because this is one of the places where everyone can come together to work on a problem,” Gov. Burgum said in welcoming remarks. “When we think about all the people who are working together across all the communities around reinventing recovery, this is exactly what we’re doing. When we can empower people, give them the tools and resources, we can improve their lives and we can inspire success for others.”

“Today, we’re building on a foundation that we’ve set over the past two years: the challenge to build supportive and strong recovery communities at home, at school or in the workplace,” First Lady Burgum said. “And we all play a role in creating this sustaining culture that enables recovery in North Dakota and really across our nation.”

The governor and first lady announced that the Families Strong program would be made available for free for interested citizens. Developed by the Addiction Policy Forum and Mosaic Group, Families Strong is a support group-based model developed to support families impacted by substance use disorders. This program focuses on helping family members develop self-care, build social supports and learn effective motivational strategies for interacting with a loved one who is struggling with a substance use disorder. More information and opportunities to sign up to express interest in the program are available at recoveryreinvented.com.

Also announced was a workplace recovery initiative that will empower employers and human resources with information and toolkits to create recovery-friendly workplaces. Included are resources such as the Workplace Cost Calculator, the Shatterproof Addiction Education Program, and the SAMHSA Workplace Toolkit. Believing in the value of Shatterproof’s “Just Five” program and its impact for employees, the North Dakota Department of Human Services (DHS) is working to bring this program to Team ND and private businesses in the state. Just Five is an online, self-paced, mobile-enabled program focusing on increasing awareness, reducing stigma and sharing information about addiction prevention and treatment.

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

  • Recovery Talk, a free and confidential phone line with trained peer support specialists available 24/7 to offer support and share local resources.
  • Naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose in emergency situations, was once again provided to attendees who received training in naloxone administration. Two single-dose kits of naloxone were available for free to interested participants at the event.
  • Several progress updates were provided since last year’s Recovery Reinvented, including Free Through Recovery expansion, peer support certification and upcoming trainings, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem sharing efforts to address the opioid crisis in North Dakota, legislative updates from the 2019 session, and highlights of the governor and first lady’s Youth Ending Stigma Challenge.

“The Department of Human Services is pleased to partner with Recovery Reinvented and support efforts to eliminate the shame and stigma of the disease of addiction,” said Pamela Sagness, director of DHS’s Behavioral Health Division. “It’s exciting to share the past year’s progress on reinventing recovery and to have an entire week focused on behavioral health in North Dakota, with a record 600-plus people registered for the DHS Behavioral Health Conference that runs Wednesday through Friday.”

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

  • Shannon Roers Jones, state representative from District 46 in Fargo, for her work in promoting legislation that provides second chance opportunities for people coming out of the criminal justice system.
  • David Reich, South Central Judicial District judge, for creating the Runners Against Destructive Decisions program to engage judicial members, men and women coming out of the criminal justice system and at-risk youth in a community running program.
  • Teliea Baker, director of The Door, for her dedicated work using her lived experience with addiction to empower others toward recovery as a peer support specialist and director of The Door in New Town, N.D.
  • Michael Dulitz, Opioid Response Project coordinator for Grand Forks Public Health, for his innovative work implementing programs, increasing access to treatment and peer support, and changing the conversation around the disease of addiction.

Featured speakers at today’s event included:

  • Gary Mendell, founder and CEO, Shatterproof
  • Carol McDaid, principal, Capitol Decisions Inc.
  • Dr. Leander McDonald, president, United Tribes Technical College
  • Riley Salmon, head coach, University of Jamestown men’s volleyball team.