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2017-07-13 / Headlines

Tribes Seek Aid In Opioid Crisis

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) _ North Dakota tribes are asking state officials for more help to address the opioid epidemic on their reservations.

“We’re all doing something, and it’s all good work, but we’re doing it in separate places and different directions,’’ said Bruce Gillette, director of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nations’ Circle of Life, a treatment center in New Town. “How do we come together and do this effectively?’’

Duane Silk, director of addiction services for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, told the Bismarck Tribune for a story published Tuesday ( http://bit.ly/2tmwusC ) that the tribes have lost touch with the state on drug issues over the years. Tribes used to be more involved with addiction treatment, he said, including serving on the state’s licensing board for addiction counselors and having more regular interactions with local human service centers.

With first lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum making addiction treatment her platform, tribes are hoping to revive those relationships with the state.

Treatment providers and addiction program directors representing four of the state’s five tribes, excluding the Trenton Indian Service Area, met with North Dakota Department of Human Services leaders last week to discuss how they could improve communication between the state and tribes, and explore what state treatment and prevention funding programs are available to tribes.

Circle of Life currently offers outpatient services for adolescents and adults, and the tribe is building a new drug treatment program in Bismarck.

The next meeting with tribal and state officials is scheduled for Aug. 8-9 in New Town.

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