Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - 11:23 am

North Dakota First Lady Kathryn Burgum will share her personal journey from addiction to long-term recovery and her platform for eliminating the shame and stigma surrounding the disease of addiction today at the 2022 Rx and Illicit Drug Summit in Atlanta.

Established in 2012 under the leadership of Operation UNITE and U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers of Kentucky, the Rx and Illicit Drug Summit is the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state and federal agencies, business, academia, treatment providers and allied communities impacted by prescription drug abuse and heroin use.

Burgum will deliver a plenary address alongside Monty Burks, director of faith-based initiatives at the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and Dr. Rahul Gupta, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In her address, Burgum will highlight the work being done through Recovery Reinvented including the North Dakota Addressing Addiction stigma survey, share her lived experience of 20 years of long-term recovery, and emphasize that storytelling is one of the most powerful advocacy tools available for eliminating stigma and fostering cultures of empathy and support for those in or seeking recovery.

“This Summit is an incredible opportunity to share the innovative work North Dakota is leading around ending the stigma of addiction,” Burgum said. “We believe our statewide movement is a blueprint for how other states and communities can empower supportive cultures for recovery.”

Burgum will also deliver the 23rd Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies commencement address on Friday, April 22, at Hamline University in St. Paul.

“It is a tremendous privilege to speak to this distinguished group of Hazelden Betty Ford graduate students and help honor their hard work, sacrifice and love for the people and families they will serve for years to come,” said Burgum, who also is a member of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Board of Trustees. “Hazelden Betty Ford’s graduates are a force of healing and hope wherever they go, taking with them knowledge, expertise and a recovery-oriented spirit that our communities need now more than ever.”

Almost 80 new graduates will be recognized for earning master’s degrees in “Addiction Counseling: Integrated Recovery for Co-occurring Disorders” and “Addiction Counseling: Advanced Practice” – enabling them to provide integrated, comprehensive addiction and mental health care consistent with best practices.