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Hennepin Co. sees surge in heroin overdose deaths

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Hennepin County is battling an alarming number of heroin overdose cases leading to either death or hospitalization in the last year.

The Star Tribune reports 37 people died of heroin overdoses in 2012, up from only four deaths in 2008. Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said 2013 is on pace to set a new record.

FOX 9 breaks down the number of deaths each year since 2008.

Twin Cities emergency rooms are being overwhelmed by overdose patients, most of which are white men 18 to 25 years old.

“Just about every hospital in the state is seeing heroin overdoses; it’s not just an urban problem,” said David Roberts, an emergency room doctor at North Memorial Medical Center.

The newspaper says drugs confiscated by authorities indicate that Minnesota has some of the purest and cheapest heroin in the country, which Stanek calls "a deadly combination for our young people" that could lead to an accidental overdose.

As similar news conference was held last year, City Pages pointed out, where the sheriff's office said heroin found on Twin Cities' streets was up to 93 percent pure compared to typical street heroin with a purity of about 35 percent.

The state is working to strengthen drug-prevention efforts using schools, drug courts, correctional facilities, the medical community and family-based counseling.

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