Bismarck  (CSi)  The North Dakota Department of Human Services has awarded grants to five communities to strengthen local efforts to treat opioid use disorder, support recovery, and save lives by preventing overdose deaths.

Laura Anderson, prevention administrator for the department’s Behavioral Health Division, says, each community will receive $180,000, and grant-funded efforts are expected to begin this month and run through April 15, 2018.

Bismarck, Fargo, Grand Forks, Minot and Valley City will receive funding from the 2017 State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant (Opioid STR). Grant recipients include the City-County Health District in Valley City, N.D.; the city of Fargo and Fargo Cass Public Health; the city of Grand Forks and Grand Forks Public Health; First District Health Unit of Minot; and the Heartview Foundation and Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health.

In June, the department invited communities to submit proposals. To be considered, communities were required to demonstrate need and the local capacity to address the opioid crisis across the continuum from prevention to recovery. Awarded communities will implement strategies to increase access to evidence-based treatment and recovery support services. Communities will also reduce overdose-related deaths through prevention efforts, specifically dissemination of the life-saving drug naloxone.

Overdose deaths in North Dakota increased from 20 deaths in 2013 to 61 deaths in 2015.1 The Centers for Disease Control reported that during 2015, drug overdoses accounted for 52,404 U.S. deaths, including 33,091 (63.1 percent) that involved an opioid.

Opioids include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription.

North Dakota is dedicating a minimum of 80 percent of its $2 million grant to treatment and recovery services, and using the rest for prevention and data collection, reporting and evaluation.

The state intends to continue to offer other types of support to other North Dakota communities struggling to address opioid abuse and overdoses.

Resources addressing the state’s opioid epidemic are available online at or by contacting the North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division at 1237 W. Divide Ave., Suite 1D, Bismarck, N.D., 58501, 701-328-8919, or