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Minot Mayor Chuck Barney is encouraged by the approach taken by the newly formed Mayor’s Committee on Addiction to help identify and study the growing opioid addiction issue in the city.
“We’re looking for tangible results that can help identify and fill in any gaps that may exist with this entire issue,” Barney said after the committee held its first meeting July 5. “As a committee, we want to help address the opioid addiction issue through any way we can, whether that’s helping with legislation, working to help obtain grant funds, or assisting those in need through the legal process.”
Joining Barney on the committee are Shannon Straight, Stephan Podrygula, Lisa Clute, Paul Stroklund, Dennis Lindahl, Patti Eisenzimmer, Dr. Jeffrey Sather, Jason Olson, Bob Barnard, Chris Ray, Mark Schaefer, Laurie Gotvaslee, Val Potter, Lisa Tankersley, and Mark Vollmer.
Barney announced his selections to the committee during a special City Council meeting on June 27. The meeting was the first held by the newly formed City Council that features six members plus the mayor.
“The people on this committee represent different aspects of the community that deal with this issue,” said Barney, the chairman of the committee. “These appointments were well thought out. I spent a lot of time visiting with people and talking to them. I didn’t appoint myself to the chair of this committee lightly, but I felt the issue deserved it. Not because of me personally, but because of the position I represent.”
Barney has said that others in the community will be involved in the committee going forward, in advisory roles and as members of potential subcommittees.
“One of our focuses is to create working subcommittees that will help tackle the different aspects of the opioid dependency issue,” Barney said.
Barney said community involvement and helping area agencies understand each other and work together are keys to the committee’s long term success, a feeling echoed by a Minot alderman.
“I truly hope that the community doesn’t look at these appointments as the only voices in this process,” said Shaun Sipma, who was re-elected as an alderman in June. “I hope many in the community attend these different committee meetings and talk with the people on these committees and with the mayor and the aldermen themselves moving forward, because this is something that we do need to get our hands around and find those solutions. So I do hope to see the community actively involved in this moving forward.”