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Behavioral Health

In observance of Alcohol Awareness Month, North Dakota Health and Human Services (HHS) wants to highlight the positive changes in the state related to alcohol use.

North Dakota communities are coming together and investing in substance use prevention with a common goal to create safe and healthy individuals, families, businesses and communities. According to the 2021 North Dakota Youth Risk Behavior Survey, alcohol use among high school students went from 59.2% in 2001 to 23.7% in 2021.

“North Dakota has made consistent progress in addressing underage alcohol use. Research points to the role of parents as critical in developing responsible habits in children through strong, open family relationships,” said Behavioral Health Director Pamela Sagness. “Not only does prevention save lives, but it is also cost-effective.” HHS offers tools and resources for parents and caregivers to implement prevention strategies with their children through Parents Lead.

Even with this positive progress, HHS encourages individuals, families and communities to continue taking steps to address alcohol use, misuse and consequences. This necessitates a multifaceted approach that encompasses prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery services and supports.

Early intervention is key and by recognizing the warning signs and providing intervention we can decrease the likelihood of developing an addiction. HHS certifies early intervention education providers to offer evidence-based education for driving under the influence and minor in possession offenses, aiming to reduce the likelihood of continued substance use disorders. Learn more and find a provider here: www.hhs.nd.gov/behavioral-health/prevention/early-intervention.

Not all drinks are created equal. Those of age and aiming to drink responsibly can learn the volume of alcohol in drinks to make informed decisions to reduce risk. The Alculator tool speaks volumes by helping identify the alcohol content of beverages through a browser-based interactive app. Check it out at: www.hhs.nd.gov/speak-volumes.

For individuals struggling with alcohol addiction, there is hope. Treatment works and recovery is possible. Find treatment services by visiting hhs.nd.gov/behavioral-health/find-services. Recovery Talk is a helpline staffed by trained peer support specialists available 24/7 via phone or text at (701) 291-7901. The Substance Use Disorder Voucher Program facilitates access to treatment. Details can be found at hhs.nd.gov/sudvoucher. The Recovery Housing Assistance Program offers stable living environments to support recovery efforts (additional information can be found at hhs.nd.gov/behavioral-health/recovery-housing).

The Behavioral Health Division is responsible for reviewing and identifying service needs and activities in the state's behavioral health system to ensure health and safety, access to services and quality of services. For more information, visit hhs.nd.gov/behavioral-health.

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