Fentanyl contributes to rise in Minnesota overdose deaths

Published 6:28 pm Friday, July 15, 2022

ST. PAUL — The number of people who died of drug overdoses in Minnesota climbed by more than 20% last year.

State Department of Health records show at least 1,286 people in Minnesota died of overdoses in 2021. And, most of the deaths were caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which saw a 32% increase in fatal overdoses compared to 2020.

About 450 other deaths were caused by methamphetamine overdoses and 151 deaths were caused by cocaine.

Minnesota’fs numbers mirror increased drug overdose deaths across the country as fentanyl has been mixed with other drugs like cocaine.

“This increase in drug overdose deaths is alarming, but there are things we can do about it,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.

State health officials recommend that programs should make it easier for people to get naloxone, or Narcan, the medication that can reverse an opioid overdose. They also recommend that people who use drugs buy fentanyl test strips to ensure they aren’t contaminated.