6 opioid overdoses in 24 hours prompts Duluth police to issue warning

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The Duluth Police Department is investigating six drug-related overdoses in a 24-hour period this weekend.

None of the overdoses were fatal, but prompted police to issue a warning for opioid users Saturday night, saying the content and purity of these drugs is often unknown and can cause overdose deaths.

Opioid drugs are pain relievers and are sold under familiar names like Vicodin, OxyContin, morphine and codeine, and are highly addictive. Heroin, which is illegal, is also an opioid.

Police did not say what kinds of drugs were involved in these overdoses or the conditions of those involved, the Duluth News Tribune says.

The use of opioids has been an increasing problem in Duluth. Late last year, there were three opioid-related overdose deaths reported in the area in just two days, which mirrors a trend around the state and nationwide.

In 2013, the number of Minnesotans who died of drug overdoses (507) was greater than the number of people killed in car accidents in the state (374), the Star Tribune reported, and many of those deaths were related to prescription drugs.

Researchers found more than two-thirds of emergency room overdose visits in the United States in a recent year were related to the prescription opioids. Many people, the study says, got their prescription opioids “via fraudulent prescriptions or from dealers that have illegally obtained the drugs – sometimes from breaking into and raiding pharmacies.”

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