On the anniversary of a famous opioid overdose, MN gets money to prevent more

More than $5 million from the federal government will help Minnesota fight opioid addiction.

When Prince died of a fentanyl overdose on April 21, 2016, he became the most famous Minnesotan whose life was ended by opioids. But there are many others who have died that way.

In a coincidence of timing, it was on the one-year anniversary of Prince's death Friday that the state received a federal grant of more than $5 million to fight the rising tide of opioid overdose deaths.

The $5.4 million comes from the Department of Health and Human Services, which provided at least $2 million to every state to fight what the Trump administration called an opioid crisis.

Altogether, the grants totaled $485 million. The money was approved by Congress in December as part of the 21st Century Cures Act. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price says the amounts sent to each state were determined by their rates of opioid overdose deaths and by the unmet need for addiction treatment.

OD deaths rising faster in Minnesota than nationally

In announcing Minnesota's grant, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith noted that fatal opioid overdoses have risen by 200 percent nationwide since the year 2000. But in Minnesota opioid deaths have climbed 430 percent in that time, Smith says.

Smith believes the demand for prevention, treatment, and recovery services is overwhelming the state's public health system. She says the new grant will help improve access to treatment for those who are addicted.

About opioids

Opioids are a whole family of narcotics that includes lots of different drugs. All of them help manage pain, but they're also addictive and overdoses are a hazard. They include prescription pills like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. They also include heroin and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic drug that the CDC says is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

There are resources within Minnesota and the U.S. to get help if you’re struggling with addiction.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has a website that shows residential, outpatient and hospital inpatient treatment program locations. And the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) also offers help, and can connect people with resources nearby.

The National Institute of Health has more options here, as well as a guide of what to do if a friend or loved one has a substance abuse problem.

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