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Minnesota Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Climb

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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) – Minnesota’s alarming trend of rising numbers of deadly drug overdoses continued last year.

A new report released today by the Minnesota Department of Health indicates 637 state residents died as a result of drug overdoses in 2016. That is up about 9.2-percent when compared to 2015 and is six times higher than the drug overdose death toll in 2000.

“The alarm is growing louder year after year as we continue to see the costly impact of ‘diseases of despair’ such as chronic pain, depression, chemical dependency and suicide,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. “Launching a new data dashboard will consolidate our tracking efforts into one place and help us better work together to help Minnesotans learn about prevention and treatment options, and to avoid the trap of drug abuse.”

The report shows heroin overdose deaths are becoming increasingly common in the Twin Cities, while deaths resulting from methamphetamine overdoses are on the rise in Greater Minnesota, where the overall overdose death rate was steady last year due to a decline in fatal opioid overdoses.

The data shows they were 376 opioid-involved deaths last year statewide, which was up 12-percent from the previous year. Most involved prescription opioids, but officials note there was an 80-percent increase in the number of deaths involving synthetic opioids.

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