Health & Humans Services Deputy Secretary Visits Duluth to Address Opioid Epidemic
In 2017 St. Louis County received $675,000 to fund new opioid treatment options.
Opioid abuse is a national epidemic that affects thousands of people across the country.
And the United States Health & Human Services Deputy Secretary came all the way to Duluth to see how this crisis is a major problem in the Northland and what needs to be done to correct it.
Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan says he knows St. Louis County has a serious problem with opioids and he wants to know more about it firsthand.
Hargan was at Essentia Health in Duluth for a roundtable with local community health leaders to discuss how opioid abuse is addressed here in the Northland.
He met with health experts on the medical, behavioral and social services side.
He hopes the feedback will give him an idea of what’s going right and what’s going wrong.
“fFor people to kind of stay in their track is very understandable, but it’s also important to the patients who are going from one setting to another for them to be able, people to keep track of them,” said Hargan. “I think here, where we’re seeing a lot of coordination among a lot of different providers is a good lesson for how a community can start responding well to something that has assumed epidemic proportions.”
FOX21 cameras weren’t allowed inside for the roundtable.
But we spoke with Chied Medical Officer Dr. Peter Henry with Essentia Health who was there
Dr. Henry says collaboration was a common theme discussed, along with creating continuity of care.
“the biggest thing right now is access, so we would like to see is a 24/7 ability for people to have access to immediate treatment; initiation or induction of therapy,” said Dr. Henry. “And we’re working toward that.”
The most recent report from the Minnesota Department of Health shows 395 people died from an opioid overdose in the state in 2016.
Just last year St. Louis County received $675,000 to fund new opioid treatment options.