The nationwide opioid crisis has hit Anoka County, Minnesota, especially hard this holiday season, with as many as four heroin overdose deaths being reported over the past week.
In a Christmas Eve Facebook post, the Anoka Co. Sheriff's Office said three people in the community had died of "as a result of suspected heroin use":
However, according to a Wednesday tweet from FOX 9 reporter Paul Blume, the county is now reporting four OD deaths over the last 10 days:
Compounding the problem is the "shortage of Narcan" – a drug that depresses opiate receptors in the brain and restarts the respiratory system following an overdose – being reported by the Anoka County sheriff.
In recent years, the county has reported rising heroin and prescription drug use. In 2016, opioid overdoses killed 35 people in the area.
But it's only one of many communities suffering from the opioid epidemic. Just a few days ago, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) published a study which found that the national rate of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids had increased a whopping 45 percent from 2016 to 2017.
Meanwhile, the rate of fatal overdoses from prescription opioids remained stable but was "still far too high."
All this, despite numerous initiatives to raise awareness of opioid addictions and combat the problem on a state and national level.
If you or someone you know if struggling with addiction, here's a list of resources offering help and guidance.