Skip to main content

In White House meeting, sheriff from MN emphasizes opioid problem

President Trump agreed that overdoses are a big problem in Minnesota – and asked about refugees.

Hennepin County's sheriff used a face-to-face meeting with President Trump on Tuesday to underscore the toll drug overdoses are taking in Minnesota and to ask for help stopping the flow of opioid narcotics from Mexico.

Rich Stanek was in Washington for a meeting of the National Sheriffs Association. He was one of about a dozen sheriffs who met with President Trump at the White House.

Video of the meeting posted by C-SPAN shows Stanek (a little over eight minutes into the meeting) telling Trump that 144 people died from opioid overdoses in his county last year. Stanek adds that's a 31 percent increase over the previous year.

"We need help," Stanek told the president, saying: "80-plus percent of those drugs come from south of the border. Everybody knows it. I know you will do something about it."

Trump asks about refugees

President Trump assured Stanek that he will do something. "It's already being done .... And you do have a big problem," Trump said of opioids before shifting the subject. "You have a big problem with the refugees pouring in, don't you?" he asked.

"Yes, we do, sir," Stanek replied. "All we're asking is what you're doing, which is let the courts decide." Both men mentioned the importance of vetting those seeking entry to the U.S. Trump told Stanek "We're being very, very tough with the vetting – tougher than ever before."

County has new opioid prevention campaign

The numbers Stanek mentioned at the White House were fresh in his mind because they were just released last week. That's also when Stanek announced a new prevention campaign the sheriff's office is calling #NOverdose.

Opioids are a category of drugs that includes heroin. But many prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin are also opioids.

In recent years Mexican drug cartels have started making a more potent synthetic version of another opioid: fentanyl. They often lace other drugs with fentanyl, which stretches the cartels' profits but also makes the drugs unpredictably potent for users and contributes to overdoses, a DEA official told the New York Times last summer.

There's speculation that that combination is what led to Prince's accidental painkiller overdose last year.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 11.43.15 AM

Deputies fatally shoot man in Wright County

Police claim the man, who had allegedly been experiencing a mental health crisis, was armed with a knife.

Ambulance hospital emergency

17-year-old killed in northern Minnesota crash Saturday

The other drive involved in the crash, a 75-year-old man, sustained life-threatening injuries.


Alcohol a factor as driver rolls ATV into corn field, injuring 3

The crash occurred in Lake Lillian Saturday night.

Minneapolis police

Man dies after being found shot at Minneapolis' 38th and Chicago

Responders were called to the scene early Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-08-07 at 6.34.12 AM

7 children arrested after 'disturbance' at Cabela's, escape in stolen vehicle

Employees called police saying the children were stealing goods from the store.

Screen Shot 2022-08-06 at 6.16.49 PM

Fire sparks evacuation from apartment building, man arrested for arson

Police and fire crews responded to the fire just before 9 a.m. Saturday.

Flickr - utility pole power line

Morning storms cause power outages, ensuing problems in Eagan

There have been reports of disabled traffic lights and issues at local businesses.

kim crockett facebook sos

GOP nominee questions if those with disabilities, non-English speakers should be able to vote

Crockett made the comments in a 2020 radio interview following a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.


Jury: MN pharmacist did not violate woman's rights by refusing her morning-after pill

Gender Justice, the advocacy group that brought about the lawsuit, says it will appeal the decision.

Screen Shot 2021-10-04 at 3.03.13 PM

Revival to close its original Minneapolis restaurant

Don't worry – it's bringing the chicken to its nearby BBQ joint.


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.

Here's why a 'disease detective' says MN is not counting all the opioid deaths

A Minnesota study reveals a pitfall in tabulating opioid deaths.

Minnesota joins lawsuit challenging Trump's immigration order

The lawsuit says the country's new limits on refugees and immigrants are unconstitutional.

After another jump in opioid deaths, sheriff's office introduces #NOverdose effort

The CDC says more than 45 percent of people who used heroin were also addicted to prescription painkillers.

Rural Americans who helped elect Trump need one thing from him

Rural states were critical to Donald Trump's election victory. But there's no easy solution to their big problem.

Report: President Trump will meet with CEOs of Target and Best Buy

The CEOs are reportedly concerned about the impact of a border tax being considered by Republicans.

Concerns over white supremacist fliers that have appeared in Fargo

Fliers saying "Trump was the first. We're the next" and "This country is your birthright. Don't give it up" were found downtown.