Drug Overdoses Increase in Minnesota

Drug overdoses in Minnesota are four times as high now than they were 15 years ago. 

That’s according to new data released by the Minnesota Department of Health. 

In 2000, there were 129 drug overdose deaths.  In 2015, there were 572.   Overdose deaths jumped 11 percent from 2014 to 2015.  

In 2015, more than half of the drug-related deaths were related to prescription pain pills rather than illegal street drugs.  The new data revealed that the leading drugs associated with deaths were opioid pain relievers (216), followed by heroin (114), meth (78) benzodiazepines (71) and cocaine (38).  Minnesota has seen rising death rates related to all of these drug categories over the past five years, except for cocaine. 

“With all the attention on this issue over the past several years, it’s disappointing that we have not been more effective in slowing down this epidemic,” Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger said. “It shows we must redouble our efforts and implement a comprehensive public health approach involving communities, health care providers and law enforcement to increase prevention efforts and access to chemical dependency treatments, pain management and emergency interventions such as Naloxone.”

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