Substance Abuse

South Dakota’s rural communities often lack resources to combat drug and alcohol addiction. Thanks to a new grant, Avera Health is looking to expand its telehealth services in some under-served areas. 

The Health Resources and Services Administration is awarding Avera a $750,000  grant to expand its addiction recovery services. The project starts with the Avera clinics in Flandreau and Aberdeen.

Malia Holbeck is the outpatient manager for Avera’s addiction recovery program. She says telemedicine can help bridge the gap for areas that lack certain services.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota authorities have taken 500-thousand dollars’ worth of a dangerous drug off the street. Tuesday Chamberlain Police and the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation executed a search warrant. They found 20,000 fentanyl pills.

Fentanyl has real medical uses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that doctors prescribe the synthetic opioid to ease pain after surgery or alleviate chronic pain. People addicted to drugs may use fentanyl that’s manufactured for medicine.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

An Eagle Butte woman is encouraging Native American leaders in 23 tribal governments. The Bush Foundation is dedicating resources to Native Nation Building. A woman from Cheyenne River is six months into the job of supporting and promoting Indian leadership.

Eileen Briggs is the Bush Foundation’s director of Native Nation Building. She says the work includes a handful of large investments to empower American Indian communities instead of prescribing solutions.

Tim Purdon Twitter

A former U.S. Attorney for North Dakota says during his five years at the job, he saw countless cases of recidivism from reservations back to jail and prison. 

Tim Purdon addressed the South Dakota Substance Abuse Prevention study group.  The group is a summer committee made up of state lawmakers.  Purdon says to stop recidivism, law enforcement efforts must also include crime prevention.  He says more support is needed for those re-entering reservations from custody.

Purdon adds that prevention is cost effective.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Each legislative session, some major issues seem to take the spotlight in Pierre – and education is dominating this year’s conversation. Much of SDPB’s coverage relates to funding schools and teachers, because lawmakers are trying to find ways to fairly and adequately fund education. Despite a goal to provide the same opportunity for all kids by doling out the matching funding for students, children walk into classes facing a wide range of challenges. A visit to one Sioux Falls school reveals some of those differences.