Opioid program at NDSU increasing efforts to save lives across North Dakota

Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 6:44 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The fight against the opioid epidemic has gotten a heavy investment after the One Program, an opioid and Naloxone education program started at NDSU, received $632,000 from the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services.

There are two big measures in place, from preventative to life-saving. For preventative, they work with local pharmacies to supply a risk screening program, where pharmacists and patients work together to determine if patients should be prescribed a lower dosage opioid or an opioid-free alternative.

Mark Strand, a professor in NDSU’s school of pharmacy, stated, “We’ve had individuals say, ‘you know, you are so right and I’m so glad you brought this up because I’ve been wanting to change this.’”

Another big effort is supplying Naloxone emergency treatment kits, which contain the nasal medication, medical equipment and an instructional video so that anybody with no knowledge can potentially save somebody’s life.

As with the grant funding, it will help the organization broaden efforts by doubling their reach for screenings, as well as saturate the state with these emergency kits, which cost about $150 each.

“Since July, we’ve doubled the number of interventions done per day, because we’ve taken on all the pharmacies in the Thrifty White Network,” stated Strand. “We’ve doubled the scale of the project.”

Jeff Jacobsen, a pharmacist who works with the program, said, “Anytime we can expand a program like this, it benefits everybody. It makes people more aware of what they’re taking. It makes our job as pharmacists easier because as we’re counseling, they’ve already looked at this list to see, ‘oh, these could be potential problems.’”

For program leaders and those who work with them, they’re thankful for not only the investment in their work, but the people in need of help.

“Anything we can do to try and give them an opportunity to recover is worth doing,” stated Strand. “Anything we can do to help keep someone from succumbing to an overdose is worth doing.”