MN Department of Health Records Highest Number of Drug Overdose Deaths in 2021
The Minnesota Department of Health has announced that a record high number of drug overdose deaths happened in 2021.
According to a recent release by the department, most overdose deaths that took place in 2021 were associated with fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid drug that is becoming more common in the U.S. Even a dose the size of three grains of rice can be lethal. Some fentanyl pills come laced with other drugs such as cocaine or methamphetamine.
The MDH reported that roughly 1,286 overdose deaths represented an increase of 22% from 2020’s drug overdose recording. Reports stated that this number averages to more than three people dying every day from an overdose of some type of drug.
“This increase in drug overdose deaths is alarming, but there are things we can do about it,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “One important step is to expand programs that make it easier for people to access naloxone – a medication that can reverse overdoses and save lives.”
The number of deaths in the 7-county Metro vs. Greater Minnesota has been recorded by the MDH from 2011-2021. In 2021, there were 455 deaths in Greater Minnesota, 818 in the 7-county Metro. Data from 2021 displayed a 35% increase in the total number of overdose deaths involving some type of opioid since 2020.
Drug overdoses from non-opioids showed an increase from 2020 to 2021, which displayed a 34% increase in overdose deaths containing methamphetamine. For drug overdose deaths involving cocaine, there was an 81% increase from 2020 to 2021.
The MDH believes that the rise of fentanyl usage around the U.S. and in Minnesota may be a contributing factor in the increase of overdose deaths.
The MDH would like to remind the public that fentanyl testing strips are available, and can help prevent overdose deaths from occurring. Naloxone is a medicine that is used to treat and reverse the affects of an opioid overdose.
A Naloxone finder is available on the “Know the Dangers” website, and the medicine can be picked up at any time and kept in case of an overdose. More information on overdose deaths for Minnesota can be found on the MDH website.