Twin Cities sees spike in heroin overdoses

Drug addiction knows no boundaries. It does not take age, race or economic standing into consideration. Rather, it can turn a law abiding Minnesotan into a law breaking drug user who places getting a fix above friends, family and worldly possessions.  

All drugs can be quite addicting. However, the Twin Cities is seeing an increase in the number of overdoses from heroin. A recent ABC 6 News report looked at this increase and one senator's crusade to at least get the potentially life-saving heroin overdose drug, Naloxone, into the hands of first responders. 

Naloxone is commonly referred to as the "Heroin Overdose Antidote." The drug works by reversing the opiates in a person's system. This means that when the brain's receptors are blocked by opioids, and a person stops breathing, Naloxone can replace those opioids, allowing the person to continue breathing. 

According to Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, law enforcement in 16 states is equipped with this drug. 

Senator Chris Eaton authored a bill that would give each Hennepin County deputy a number of Naloxone doses in nasal spray and injection forms. Stanek supports the bill.

In looking at why this is important now in the Twin Cities, heroin overdoses are on the rise. In 2010, eight people died from heroin overdoses in Hennepin County. So far, in 2013, 48 people have died in Hennepin County from heroin overdoses. 

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, this increase is related to the high purity of heroin in the Twin Cities metro area. This high potency is why heroin cases have surpassed methamphetamine and cocaine cases -- combined.

When talking about this increase in heroin, it should be mentioned that those who are hooked on drugs may make decisions they would not have otherwise made if it were not for the drugs. In cases where these decisions result in criminal charges, it is important to talk with an attorney who can look into sentencing options, such as rehabilitation programs that can help treat the addiction, which many times is the root cause of the problem.

Source: ABC 6 News, "Senator and Hennepin Co. Sheriff Fight Heroin Overdoses with Antidote," Todd Wilson, Dec. 10, 2013

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