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Report on Twin Cities drug abuse finds lots of heroin – and signs for optimism

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An annual snapshot of drug abuse trends in the Twin Cities shows heroin and methamphetamine remained the biggest problem drugs in the metro area last year.

But the expert who compiled the report also sees some encouraging signs in the data.

Carol Falkowski, the CEO of Drug Abuse Dialogues, has been tracking drug use trends in the area for 30 years, having previously worked for Hazelden and for the state of Minnesota.

She found that of those who entered drug treatment programs in 2015, 16 percent were there because of heroin abuse. Falkowski says that's the highest figure on record and marks the first time that admissions for heroin abuse surpassed those for marijuana.

The 15 page report, which you can read here, says deaths from opiate overdoses leveled off in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties last year. Across the state, law enforcement agencies seized 47 percent more heroin than they had the year before.

Is this good news?

Well, it at least shows some encouraging trends, Falkowski says.

She tells KSTP: "It's great that people are getting the treatment they need. It's great that law enforcement is out there trying to curtail the supply, and it's encouraging that fewer people appear to be dying from it."

As for meth abuse, it accounted for 13 percent of treatment admissions last year. Falkowski said in an email that's a larger percentage than at the height of Minnesota's meth epidemic in 2005.

In 35 percent of the drug seizures by Twin Cities law enforcement the confiscated drugs included meth, her report says.

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