Spike in heroin overdoses prompts training session in hope of saving lives

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A reported spike in heroin overdoses in the Twin Cities prompted a local nonprofit to host training sessions to teach people how to use a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation says there were five overdoses in the Twin Cities in one hour, which were likely caused by a bad batch of heroin.

"We were told that five people in the Twin Cities overdosed last night within an hour of one another," Lexi Reed Holtum of the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation told the Pioneer Press Friday. "We see the potential for great harm and we are trying to be out in front of it."

Minneapolis police told the paper that officers responded to a double accidental heroin overdose Thursday night – both victims were given Narcan and revived, while officials at Abbott Northwestern Hospital told KARE 11 they have seen an uptick in heroin overdoses as of late.

Narcan, or naloxone, is a medication that can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, and it is legal in Minnesota for citizens to carry and administer the drug.

The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation is aiming to make these life-saving kits more readily available, so on Saturday it held two emergency training sessions and provided kits to the public.

The nonprofit is also raising money to buy more naloxone kits so people who are concerned about a loved one can have one in case of an overdose.

"I think the next step is to have naloxone as available and common to carry as an EpiPen," Holtum told KSTP.

The overdoses in the Twin Cities this past week could be caused by a bad batch of heroin. That's what led to 74 heroin deaths in 72 hours in Chicago in early October, the nonprofit says. The incidents prompted the Obama Administration to announce new steps to combat prescription drug abuse and heroin use.

The number of heroin and prescription painkiller overdoses has been on the rise in Minnesota, and across the country as of late – it's gotten bad enough that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled the rise in opioid deaths as an epidemic.

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