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'A Day of Prevention'



It was called “A Day of Prevention.”

People gathered in Bismarck to talk about how to prevent substance abuse.

Gov. Doug Burgum and First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum hosted it, along with the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

"We spent $26 million in the last decade building jails in our state," Burgum said. "This year, in the budget, we will spend $100,000 for prevention. Each dollar of prevention could save as much as $64 downstream."

Burgum said going forward, he will be asking the Legislature to put more money toward prevention, and less toward prisons.

"Our job in the Executive Branch is to get the data in front of the Legislature," Burgum said. "They (state Legislators) make good decisions if we give them the data, so they can understand where the biggest impact is. They always want to spend the money in the smartest ways."

Burgum said a strategy that has worked for Wyoming, for example, is to enforce the laws already on the books.

"We had a city in North Dakota where 16 out of 31 bars that were checked failed a test, and were serving people under the age of 21," Burgum said. "Part of prevention is making sure that a community, on a cultural level, understands that it is creating real risks for people."

Burgum said Fargo will host a “Recovery Reinvented” program in September.

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