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Strengthening the Heartland

Given the unique risk factors associated with the agriculture industry, conditions are right for significant increases in prescription opioid misuse in ND and SD if more prevention efforts are not instituted. Strengthening the Heartland (STH) is dedicated to providing opioid education in rural communities, with particular emphasis on those in the farming/ranching industry, directly through a prescription opioid misuse prevention program and a public health campaign.

Farming/ranching is often a family business with spouses and children involved with production and management. Therefore, when agriculture-related challenges occur such as unpredictable weather, economic changes, or injury, the accompanying stress affects the whole family. These stressors are risk factors for prescription opioid misuse. Of significant concern when addressing substance misuse is access to mental healthcare. Unfortunately, rural areas routinely experience inadequate access to services. Over 90% of counties in both North and South Dakota are classified as mental health professional shortage areas meaning the number of mental healthcare providers is not adequate based on need. To address the risk of opioid misuse, STH facilitates evidence-emerging prescription opioid misuse prevention programs, while also providing resources for front line professionals who support rural communities in North and South Dakota.

Adult Programming

The Opioid Public Health Crisis (OPHC)

This 1-hour presentation addresses opioid misuse, risk factors and suggested prevention methods. Learn how to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and how the opioid reversal drugs Naloxone works, and some of the solutions that states and communities are applying to reduce the effects of the health crisis. The program is ideal for parents, employees, employers, teachers and service providers.

Have an upcoming event in your community? In need of a training for a conference or  in-service? The Opioid Public Health Crisis is an excellent presentation that can be tailored to fit your needs.

Strengthening the Heartland changed my life!!!

— Anonymous

Teen Programming

This is (Not) About Drugs (TINAD)

This 1-hour, media-based presentation is targeted toward youth in grades 6-12. The program helps youth raise awareness of the risks of misusing prescription opioids, and encourages youth to seek alternatives to substances when dealing with stress. The presentation is great for schools, 4-H clubs, youth groups, youth conferences or after-school programs.

This is (Not) About Drugs is an ideal presentation for youth in multiple settings. The  presentation can be adapted for the classroom, after school time, camps, clubs, and more.

“This was by far one of the best drug-type presentations that I have been a part of. I really like that it was more about the choices you make and not about “don’t do this, or don’t do that.” The students were engaged and I could tell they were really thinking and digesting the material. It was also timely for my seniors who are going to a new adventure this fall, it really put a seed in their minds to think about their actions and how this can change not only their lives, but the lives of others. I highly recommend this program!!”

— Andrew Jensen, Ag Education Teacher, Chester, SD

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