BCBSND Caring Foundation, Prairie Public to release documentary on the opioid epidemic in North Dakota

FARGO – The Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation has partnered with Prairie Public Broadcasting to produce an original 30-minute documentary titled “The Opioid Epidemic: Seeking Solutions in North Dakota.” Dakota Medical Foundation and Bell Bank provided additional support.

The documentary addresses the impact of opioid misuse and addiction on North Dakota communities, focusing on awareness, education, prevention, early intervention, effective treatment and recovery. The Caring Foundation hopes it helps actively engage the public in solutions.

“The Opioid Epidemic: Seeking Solutions in North Dakota” includes personal stories, impacts on state resources, efforts to address the problem and calls to action. All interviewees are North Dakotans who are directly affected by the epidemic, including:

  • Chris Myers, U.S. attorney for the state of North Dakota
  • Leann Bertsch, director of the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
  • North Dakota First Lady Kathryn Helgaas Burgum
  • Mike and Mary Beth Traynor, Fargo parents who lost their 25-year-old son, Matthew, to addiction
  • Shila Stiefel, a Bismarck resident in recovery who helps others struggling with addiction at Heartview Foundation in Bismarck
  • Dr. Lisa Faust, BCBSND senior medical director
  • Andy McLean, medical director for the North Dakota Department of Human Services and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the UND School of Medicine
  • Jennifer Reid, addiction and mental health counselor
  • Melissa Henke, Heartview Foundation medical director
  • Joe Moran, a Fargo resident in recovery


Public premiere: There will be a free public premiere of the documentary at the Fargo Theatre on Tuesday, October 10, at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6). The Mayors’ Blue Ribbon Task Force will be a co-host for the evening. A conversation with several of the individuals featured in the film will follow the screening. RSVPs are not required but greatly appreciated at All members of the media are welcome to attend.

Prairie Public premiere: The documentary will premiere on Prairie Public’s television network on Friday, October 20, at 8 p.m. CST (check local listings). The documentary will rebroadcast on Sunday, October 22, at 2 a.m. CST.

Online: A 30-second trailer is available at The full documentary will be available to stream online after Friday, October 20, on BCBSND’s YouTube channel and at

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) Caring Foundation
Established in 1989, the BCBSND Caring Foundation ( is a private 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Through giving and investing, the Caring Foundation focuses on key health issues that help improve the health and well-being of North Dakotans and their communities. Caring Foundation staff work with grantees to support nonprofit sustainability, collaborate on shared outcomes and create lasting change.

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