153 opioid-related deaths in Hennepin County last year

campaignThe Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office announced the final 2016 opioid-related death statistics March 2 during the first #NOverdose coalition meeting.

In 2016, there were 153 opioid-related deaths in the county, a 39 percent increase from 2015.

“Every one of the 153 deaths was tragic and every one was preventable,” said Sheriff Rich Stanek. “In response to this crisis, we will work together to build strong partnerships to reduce the number of opioid related deaths.”

The March 2 coalition meeting marked the first of the monthly meetings that will provide updates on #NOverdose progress, upcoming events, and conduct an open discussion to guide the campaign’s future.

Several law enforcement agencies, school districts, medical professionals, community organizations and community members were in attendance.

The discussion addressed recommendations for educating youth and parents, new ideas for prevention messaging and several ways for coalition members to get involved.

The campaign will focus on education for parents through several school-parent sponsored events such as town-hall meetings. Several Hennepin County high schools have already agreed to host a prevention event.

The first town hall will be at 7 p.m. Monday, March 20 at Wayzata High School, 4955 Peony Ln. N., Plymouth. The event is free, and parents and students are encouraged to attend. During the town hall, attendees will learn about current drug trends and how to help prevent drug abuse.

Judy Hanson from Wayzata Public Schools said, “We strongly believe in prevention and we want to get to parents who don’t think this issue affects their family. The perception of harm is very low and we want to change that.”

-Compiled by Paige Kieffer. Contact Paige Kieffer at [email protected]