10/2/2014, Surge in Minnesota drug overdose deaths worries health, public safety officials


In 2013, the Health Department reported, 507 Minnesotans died of all types of drug overdoses including 329 in the 11-county metro area. Deaths from prescribed pain relievers — and illegal heroin, a close cousin in the opiate family — accounted for many of them. By comparison, 374 Minnesotans died in motor vehicle accidents…

The Minnesota findings mirror a national study, released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that confirm widespread public exposure to prescription drugs and increasing rates of opiate addiction.

Because “public exposure to prescription drugs and increasing rates of opiate addiction” equal an epidemic?

Heroin deaths have increased sharply in many states, the CDC said, but nearly twice as many people died from prescription drug overdoses as from heroin. In Minnesota, 200 people died from overdosing on prescribed pain relievers in 2013; 91 died from overdosing on heroin.

The CDC study of 2012 deaths, published in this week’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” also concluded that while most prescription drug abusers don’t become heroin users, “heroin often costs less than prescription [drugs] and is increasingly available.”

So, ipso facto, now pain patients are potential heroin users.  The CDC is really starting to piss me off…

Minnesota was one of 28 states studied. The Minnesota Health Department findings showed that since 2000, nearly 5,000 people statewide have died from overdoses.

When you choose to use statistics that cover a period of time like a decade, it makes the number of deaths look a lot higher.  Let’s look at some other statistics from Minnesota, shall we?

Click to access 1205healthofminnesotasupp.pdf

Injury is the leading cause of death for children and young adults in Minnesota, but deaths are a
small proportion of the impact of injury. For every one injury death, there are three severe
traumas (including brain and spinal cord injuries), ten other hospitalized injuries, and 100
injuries that result in emergency department treatment only.

Injuries may be intentional (the result of violence) or unintentional. The leading causes of
unintentional injury-related deaths in Minnesota between 2000 and 2009 were falls, motor
vehicle crashes and poisoning. When all intent is factored into injury, then self-inflicted firearm
injuries rank third and self-inflicted poisoning ranks sixth in overall injury-related mortality.

Every day, approximately one Minnesotan dies and another is injured from a firearm. Firearms
are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury death in Minnesota. Nearly three-fourths
of firearm-related deaths are suicides, however, rather than assaults or unintentional injuries on
another person… Minnesota’s suicide rate has been steadily climbing in the last ten years, from a low of 8.9 per 100,000 in 2000 to 11.1 per 100,000 in 2010. While many people assume that suicide rates are highest among teenagers, males over the age of 35 actually have the highest rates of suicide.

Now, back to our story…

Many of those drug deaths involved accidental poisonings and suicides, but a growing number of cases were prosecuted as third-degree murder after investigators found that the sale of a drug led to an overdose death.

More drug war victims… If the criminal injustice system is going to charge people with selling a product that killed someone else, then it’s time to charge gun manufacturers/sellers, isn’t it?

That was the case in Washington County this winter when Emily Frye, of Oakdale, was convicted and sent to prison for seven years for selling 23 methadone pills to a Scandia man who overdosed and died…

This is just… tragic.

In Hennepin County, prosecutors have charged seven people in the past 32 months with third-degree murder in overdose deaths…

Minnesota’s prescription drug problem evolved from overtreating chronic pain, said Cody Wiberg, executive director of the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy. Aggressive marketing of painkilling drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin also led to the widespread availability of opiates.

So, the Board of Pharmacy — the “executive director” of Minnesota’s drug distribution network — has decided he knows what causes drug problems?  Seriously, wherever you go, drug abuse and addiction is being blamed on pain patients…

With Minnesota all concerned about drug overdose deaths, specifically, isn’t it funny that the state ended up as #2 on this list:

12/27/2014, States Where People Live Longest


2. Minnesota

Only Minnesota and Hawaii had a life expectancy at birth of more than 81 years as of 2010. Low levels of obesity and drug-related deaths, combined with a high rate of health insurance, all likely contributed to the extended life expectancies in the state. However, Minnesotans were more likely than people in other states to binge drink. Last year, 21% of adults consumed alcohol at an unhealthy level, among the highest rates in the country.

Funny, nowhere in the Statewide Health Assessment (2012) by the Department of Health does it mention anything about alcohol.  But there’s a whole section on “Prescription Drug Poisoning.”  (“Partial funding for this project was provided by the following… the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…”)

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