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Fighting opioid abuse in Duluth: Narcan kits prove successful

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Narcan has helped save another life after an apparent heroin overdose.

A 24-year-old woman was suffering from a heroin overdose in Duluth Monday evening, according to a Duluth Police news release. And when an officer responded, he gave her Narcan nasal spray – an opiate antidote.

The woman became unresponsive again, and was transported to a local hospital, the release says.

The incident proves the Duluth Police Department's recent efforts to train officers on how to recognize and treat overdoes with Narcan kits has been successful.

"The use of these kits has proven to be very successful throughout the country, including here," according to the release. Thanks to the officer’s quick actions and medical team response, a 24 year old female’s life was saved."

The police department got 100 Narcan kits for its patrol officers earlier this month in "response to the growing concerns over opioid overdoses in the area," a news release said.

Recent drug arrests

Along with the increase in overdoses, there have been a lot of drug arrests recently. Here are some of them, just from this month:

Opioids in the US and Minnesota

Opioids – a class of drugs that include heroin, as well as prescription pain relievers like oxycodone and codeine – continue to be a problem in Minnesota and across the country.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin use among people ages 18-25 has more than doubled in the past decade. And fatal overdoes have nearly quadrupled from 2002-2013.

In March, the White House announced it’d take steps to address the “epidemic.”

The opioid problem applies to Minnesota too.

A total of 572 people died from drug-related deaths in 2015, the Minnesota Department of Health said, up 11 deaths from the year before.

Across the state, officials seized 47 percent more heroin than they did the year before. You can read the full report here.

In March, a Fargo-Moorhead ambulance company told Valley News Live that they used the overdose antidote 10 times – the highest number ever.

Earlier this year, Duluth police reported a 24-hour-period where they responded to six opioid overdoses.

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