Number of pills, drugs seized in Minnesota exploded in 2017

The numbers are alarming.
Publish date:
The numbers are alarming.
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Data released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety on Thursday shows that enforcement teams seized an alarming number of illegal drugs in 2017.

The sheer numbers are astounding: 

  • 214,429 prescription pills
  • 624 pounds of meth
  • 4,323 pounds of marijuana
  • 74 pounds of marijuana wax
  • 42 pounds of heroin

The numbers far and away exceed totals seized between 2013-16 with the exception of crack and cocaine, although cocaine seizures are up significantly from where they were just two years ago. 

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Other alarming facts from the DPS:

  • Meth seizures increased for an eighth straight year and was up 281 percent from 2016 to '17.
  • Meth seizures have increased by 701 percent since 2009, when meth seizures was at a low in Minnesota. 
  • Investigators believe the majority of meth is coming to Minnesota through Mexican drug traffickers. 
  • Cocaine use is on the rise because South and Central America is producing more coca plant. 

In a related story, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recently announced a plan that would charge drug companies a "penny-per-pill" and use the money raised to help slow the state's opioid epidemic. 


Medicaid numbers soar in Minnesota

The number of Minnesotans on Medicaid shot up at nearly twice the national rate over the past two years, while state costs soared by 40 percent to surpass $4 billion for the first time. There now are about 733,000 Minnesotans in the state-federal health insurance program for the poor -- called Medical Assistance in Minnesota -- an increase of 125,000 in two years, according to a new federal study.

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