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Friday July 20th 2018

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Opioid Crisis: Facts you didn’t want to have to know

By LINDSEY FENNER

  • The opioid crisis is the deadliest drug crisis in American history.
  • Drug overdoses now kill more people in the U.S. than car accidents or guns.
  • Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death of people under 50.
  • In 2016, opioids accounted for 66 percent of drug overdoses.
  • Opioids are powerful but highly addictive pain relievers that include morphine, heroin, Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, methadone, and fentanyl.
  • It’s getting worse in the Midwest: Between July 2016 and September 2017, opioid overdoses increased 70% in the Midwest, compared to a 30% increase in the U.S. as a whole.
  • Minnesota has one of the greatest rates of disparity in the U.S. for opioid-related deaths based on race.
  • In Hennepin County, Native Americans represented 10.1 percent of deaths by opioids in 2016, but only 0.6 percent of the total population. That is not a typo.
  • The epidemic has shifted: At the beginning, overdose deaths were primarily from prescription opioid painkillers (aggressively marketed by pharmaceutical companies). Now heroin and fentanyl cause most overdose deaths.
  • Fentanyl and derivatives like carfentanil are synthetic opioids that can be thousands of times more powerful than heroin. They are difficult to track and are often mixed with other drugs without the knowledge of the person using the drugs.
  • It is EXTREMELY unlikely that you could get a contact overdose from touching someone who is overdosing from synthetic opioids or from just touching the powder. You may have seen that on the Internet, but it’s not true.
  • Naloxone or Narcan, the opioid antidote, is available without a prescription, is easy to administer, is not addictive, and is incredibly safe to use.
  • Minnesota Good Samaritan laws protect regular folks from criminal prosecution or civil damages when administering naloxone to someone they believe is suffering a drug overdose.
  • Minnesota’s Steve’s Law grants immunity from prosecution for possession/paraphernalia if you call 911 to get help for an overdose.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; The Minnesota Department of Health Center for Health Statistics; The National Institute on Drug Abuse; Opioid Prevention Strategic Framework, Hennepin County; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Resources:

MN Aids Project
Mainline Exchange, Gethsemane Church, 905 S 4th Ave
(800) 248-2437

Syringe Exchange and disposal, HIV and Hepatitis C testing: Monday and Thursday: 2-5pm, Tuesday and Friday: 10am-1pm
Naloxone kits and training Fridays: 10:30am-1pm

Native American
Community Clinic

1213 E. Franklin Avenue
(612) 872-8086
Walk-in Narcan: M-F, 9am-5pm

Red Door Clinic
Hennepin County
Health Services Building
525 Portland Avenue
Syringe exchange and disposal, clean works: Monday 9am-1pm, Wednesday 9am-7pm, Friday 1-4pm
Narcan/Naloxone: Monday & Wednesday 8am-7pm, Tuesday and Friday 8am-4pm, Thursday 10am-4pm,

Southside Harm Reduction Services: They will come to you! Call or text (612) 559-1273
Narcan/Naloxone, Clean works

Steve Rummler HOPE Network (952) 943-3937
Narcan/Naloxone community training: Most Fridays: 6:30-8pm, Lunds & Byerlys Uptown,
1450 W Lake St

Lindsey Fenner is a Phillips resident.

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