Minnesota saw record overdose deaths last year, with officials pointing to the synthetic opioid fentanyl as a primary factor.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, overdose deaths reached 1,286 in 2021, a 22% increase from the previous year. Of those deaths, 924 involved opioids, an increase of 35%.
Fentanyl was responsible for 834 of the opioid deaths.
For the first time since 2014, the seven-county metro area saw a smaller increase in overdose deaths than the rest of the state, with deaths rising by 23% in Greater Minnesota and 20% in the metro.
“This increase in drug overdose deaths is alarming, but there are things we can do about it,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said in a statement.
“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.”
Of the overdose deaths involving opioids, fentanyl was involved in around 90%. Non-opioids drugs that contributed to the most overdoses last year include methamphetamine and cocaine, according to MDH.
Psychostimulants such as methamphetamine was involved in 454 deaths (up 34% from 2020), while cocaine was involved in 154 deaths (up 81% from 2020).
MDH pointed to resources available to prevent overdose deaths, including using fentanyl test strips and Naloxone.