Meeting the Challenges of Rural Recovery in a North Dakota Rehab

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Meeting the Challenges of Rural Recovery in a North Dakota Rehab

Addiction does not discriminate. People can come from every walk of life, every place on earth, and struggle with craving something even when it harms them. Popular stereotypes of drug addiction may lead people to view it as primarily an issue for big cities, but the truth is that rural areas struggle with it as well. In fact, people in rural, frontier, and farming communities have a deep need for addiction treatment centers that respond to their distinct needs.

The low population density of many rural communities can further the sense of isolation that many people struggling with addiction face. Living several miles away from supportive people or resources can sometimes make it harder for people to get the help they need. Fortunately, the Heartview Foundation is taking steps to make sure people in North Dakota can find help and hope for chemical dependency issues.

Treatment in Cado:

Cando is a city where approximately 1,1000 people live, 35 miles northwest of Devils Lake, the seat of Towner County, named in honor of the “Can-Do” spirit of its pioneers. The Center for Solutions was a 16-bed rehab center that closed in 2001 due to insurance reimbursement problems. With help from the Dakota Medical Foundation, the Heartview Foundation bought the center, and has been refurbishing it, opening it up as their second center.

On September 1, 2015, the center opened, offering hope to addicts in the area. The center is currently focusing on short-term residential care for early recovery, but hopes to expand, hire more people, and offer more services to the community over time. Working in partnership with the Towner County Medical Center, people working in the facility can continue relationships with patients, outpatient care, and medication assisted addiction therapy.

The issue:
According to numbers reported on January 29, 2015, by The Bismarck Tribune, the number of deaths by drug overdose has skyrocketed from 5 in 1999, to 32 in 2013, with a total of 256 in 15 years. Alcohol continues to be the most commonly abused substance, but there has also been a rapid rise in the abuse of prescription opioids, and a related rise in heroin that can be an easy to find substitute.

Poverty, isolation, and limited access to education are all risk factors contributing to a rise in drug abuse in these smaller, secluded communities. Besides the obvious risks to the individual and people close to him or her, substance abuse increase crime levels and accidents, and leads to the breakdown of communities.

More close-knit communities may cause some people to experience greater levels of stigma from needing help, and that can be a barrier that keeps addiction hidden. Through educating the greater community, this sense of being known can turn into an important asset towards recovery, as caring people encourage and support the recovery process.

North Dakota, like many other states in which the population is often more spread out, is facing a crisis as levels of drug abuse are expanding beyond the current resources in place. Some people may find the only recovery community is an hour’s drive away or more, and may struggle to find childcare or transportation, or any number of other barriers that can make getting necessary help a challenge.

Directors of Heartview explained that because breaking from an addiction is such a huge step, the process should be a simply as possible. If it is too much work, people might put off getting the care they need. That is why Heartview’s work is so important in helping to expand access of care to people who need it.