Heroin in Minnesota

The death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman from an apparent heroin overdose has prompted an array of media reports about increasing use of the drug.

It’s certainly no surprise in Duluth, where Police Chief Gordon Ramsay told the City Council in October about the disturbing trend toward heroin use in our city.

What began in 2010 as abuse of opiate-based prescription drugs has continued in a move toward heroin, he said.

“We saw people switching to heroin,” Ramsay told the City Council, according to Peter Passi’s story in the Oct. 29 Duluth News Tribune.

The trend is just as active in the Twin Cities, where heroin and prescription painkiller deaths and treatment reached new heights last year, according to drug expert Carol Falkowski.

During the first half of 2013, 69 deaths were related to opiates, and 31 of those involved heroin, said the report “Drug Abuse Trends in Minneapolis/St. Paul January 2014 Update,” released last week by Falkowski’s St. Paul-based Drug Abuse Dialogues.

The report compared the 69 opiate-related deaths during the first six months of 2013 to 84 in all of 2012. Also, a record-high 13.6 percent of treatment admissions during the first half of 2013 were for heroin, compared with 12.9 percent in all of 2012.

Heroin and prescription drugs didn’t stand alone on the Twin Cities drug scene, the report said. Methamphetamine admissions and seizures increased and LSD exposures tripled.

You can see the full report here.

Comments and suggestions welcome: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

 

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