In 2018, the Grand Forks Public Health Department trained 550 individuals on administration of Narcan, a medication used to treat opioid overdose.

That's according to the department's 2018 annual report, which was released Wednesday.

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The health department also distributed nearly 300 Narcan nasal spray kits to the community and held 46 overdose recognition and Narcan training sessions.

These and other efforts have helped to "significantly reduce overdose deaths" in the region, said Debbie Swanson, director of the Grand Forks Public Health Department.

The city's opioid-related efforts received major funding from the state opioid state targeted response grant, a federal program aimed at combating the opioid epidemic across the country.

In the 2017-18 fiscal year, the Grand Forks Public Health Department received $180,000 through the program. In the following fiscal year, the city received $180,000.

The health department will have funding for opioid-fighting efforts through Sept. 30, but "after that, we don't know the future of funding," Swanson said.

"The opioid use crisis is one major issue where the public health department has made strides in," wrote Grand Forks Health Officer Dr. Joel Walz in the introduction to the 2018 report.

"These efforts need to continue."

Walz also cited mental health issues and suicide as other areas of concern.

"Suicide affects so many individuals and families," he wrote."Making sure that suicide risk is recognized and dealt with in a timely fashion with urgent access to mental health care is another area which is of utmost importance to me and the public health department."

Meanwhile, the health department has been working to change policies to help improve overall health outcomes, Swanson said. That's involved working with the county commissioner and state legislators.

"Policy work has increased a lot in the last year," she said.