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Minnesota gets $16.6 million in grants to fight the opioid crisis

Last year, nearly 2,500 opioid overdoses were reported in Minnesota.

Officials are putting millions of dollars into Minnesota's fight against the opioid crisis

Minnesota – like most states – has been dealing with a growing number of opioid overdoses and deaths in recent years, but now officials are hoping $16.6 million in federal grant money will help prevent more people from dying. 

The grants were announced Friday by Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and the Minnesota Department of Human Services, with Smith noting that opioid overdose deaths have spiked 430 percent since 2000.

In 2016, 2,450 opioid overdoses were reported in Minnesota, including 376 deaths. 

Related: 
– Minnesota's drug problem got even worse in 2016

"These new grants will help more Minnesotans all across the state get the assistance they need before it's too late," Smith said in a news release, adding that she and Gov. Mark Dayton will push for additional resources to fight the opioid crisis during the 2018 Legislature.

The grant money will be given to more than 30 agencies across the state (see a full list here) over the next three years. It will go towards a variety of initiatives, like expanding access to naloxone (the opioid overdose reversal drug), treatments for substance abuse disorders, and a new website that'll show real-time treatment bed availability, among other things.

Opioids, by the numbers

6.4 million – the number of Americans who abused prescription drugs in 2015, according to the DEA.

91 – the number of Americans who die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

637 – the number of Minnesotans who died from drug overdoses last year, according to the Department of Health.

12,000 – the number of children poisoned from exposure to prescription opioids each year, according to the Minnesota attorney general.

430 – the percentage by which deaths from opioid overdoses have increased in Minnesota since 2000, according to Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.

100 – the number of opioid-related deaths in Hennepin County from January-August of this year (a 10 percent increase from the same time last year).

4 – the number of times deputies in Sherburne County have used NARCAN to revive people who overdosed on opioids in a span of just 10 days in October.

Learn more

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 website shows residential, outpatient and hospital inpatient treatment program locations. 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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