The families and friends of two young men from Eden Prairie who died from overdoses have shared the devastating toll that opioid addiction has had on their lives.
Eden Prairie police on Monday released an emotional, 11-minute video featuring the families of Andrew Princev and Andy Johnson, who both died from heroin overdoses.
Princev died at the age of just 20 in 2016, leaving behind parents Sergei and Carla and brother Matthew, while Johnson died at the age of 25 in 2013, survived by parents Garth and Deb, and sister Libby.
The experiences of their families have been shared by Eden Prairie as part of a wider message to deter opioid use, amid a nationwide crisis that has seen death from prescription and illegal opioids skyrocket.
Andy Johnson's addiction started after he had several shoulder surgeries, for which he started taking the prescription drug Oxycontin.
"As the surgeries came and the addiction came with it, a lot of it came prescribed. It takes just one time, and one time can be your forever," his best friend Dan Vandervieren said.
Parents Garth and Deb said that this in turn led to heroin, which was cheaper and easily accessible, with Eden Prairie PD noting that 80 percent of heroin addicts started by misusing prescription opioids.
Princev got his start with drugs through marijuana at parties, before bowls of pills started being passed around. This addiction, like Johnson's, eventually led to heroin.
"I don't know how long he had been using heroin, his friends tell me maybe it was the second time he used heroin," his mother Carla said. "However many times, the last time he used it, it killed him.
"He died in our bathroom, our youngest son found him in the morning, stopped breathing."
You can watch the full video below.
The opioid crisis
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that 115 people die in the U.S. every day after overdosing on opioids, which can include prescription pain meds, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
The recent growth of the addiction has been attributed by NIDA to pharmaceutical companies in the '90s, who reassured medical professionals that opioid pain relievers weren't addictive, leading doctors to prescribe them at greater rates.
Around 21-29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain end up misusing them, and 4-6 percent of these people end up transitioning to heroin.
Overdose deaths in Minnesota rose from 675 in 2016 to 694 last year, mainly because of rising fentanyl fatalities, which accounted for 156 of synthetic opioid deaths.