Across the nation opioid abuse has risen to crisis levels. This past month during the PACT For Families Collaborative meeting in Olivia speaker Kate Erickson, MN Dept. of Health was joined by a panel of local experts as well as Rep. Dave Baker and Senator Andrew Lang to talk about the impact of opioids on local communities and what is being done about it. Opioids are substance that act on opioid receptors in your brain. The intentional effects are to relieve pain, however opioids also produce respiratory depression, and have a potential for misuse, dependence, addiction, withdrawal, and overdose. Kate Erickson introduced the Opioid Dashboard, a one-stop-shop for opioid resources.
Prescription opioids still account for the greatest number of overdose deaths in Minnesota.
- In 2016, there were 395 total opioid overdose deaths in Minnesota.
- 194 overdose deaths involved prescription opioids
- 150 overdose deaths involved heroin
The panelists discussed how EMT and police officers now carry Naloxone for treatment of an opioid overdose, and how the opioid epidemic is impacting various sectors including jails, courts, child protection and out of home placements.
The panel of speakers included:
- Renea Weigel, Renville County Human Services Supervisor
- Sheree Hable, RC Rule 25 Assessor
- Dr. Mark Ahlquist, RC Hospital and Clinics
- Sheriff Scott Hable and George Cullina, ACMC Pharmacist
A great concern in our communities is the abuse of prescription medications and other drugs. You can help stop the abuse by disposing of them. Renville County has many Medication Disposal Boxes across the county. Everyone is encouraged to clean out their medicine cabinets of unused or expired prescription drugs, over-the-counter-drugs, animal drugs, or illegal drugs and dispose of them in one of these locations- City Hall in Renville, Bird Island, Buffalo Lake, Morton, Fairfax and the Government Center in Olivia. Flushing them down the toilet is not a safe method for our water system. We all need to be very vigilant about one’s own medication use while being sure that to also take steps so that they’re not getting in the hands of youth or the addicted.