Over the past two years, methamphetamine and heroin have surged to the forefront of the drug abuse epidemic in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.
An April 2016 paper titled “Minneapolis/St. Paul Drug Abuse Trends” revealed the following alarming statistics about the prevalence of heroin and meth abuse throughout the area:
In the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, 16.5 percent of admissions to addiction treatment programs in 2015 involved heroin, which is a record for addiction treatment admissions involving this drug. (In 2000, only 3.3 percent of addiction treatment program admissions in Minneapolis-St. Paul involved heroin.)
In 2015, methamphetamine was reported in 35 percent of all drug items seized by law enforcement in the seven counties that compose the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.
Annual seizures of heroin by multijurisdictional law enforcement drug task forces throughout Minnesota increased 47 percent between 2014 and 2015.
The “Minneapolis/St. Paul Drug Abuse Trends” report was written by Carol Falkowski of Drug Abuse Dialogues, a St. Paul-based business that provides educational training and workshops about substance abuse.
The Drug Abuse Dialogues report is not the only source of concerning information about substance abuse in general, and meth and heroin abuse specifically, in the Twin Cities and surrounding communities.
In April 2016, ABC-5 Eyewitness News reported that four people in Minneapolis had been arrested for possessing about 30 lbs. of meth, some of which they were in the process of attempting to sell.
The next month, the Associated Press reported that federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), working in cooperation with personnel from the Anoka Hennepin Drug Task Force, had arrested four individuals and seized 140 lbs. of methamphetamine from a house in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. The event involved the largest amount of methamphetamine ever seized by law enforcement officials in Minnesota.
The news about heroin in the Twin Cities is similarly distressing. Police continue to confiscate the drug and arrest those who are attempting to sell it, yet heroin abuse and heroin overdoses continue to plague Minneapolis-St. Paul and surrounding communities.
For example, law enforcement officials in Minnesota seized about 18 lbs. of heroin in 2015, which marked an increase of more than 300 percent from the amount of heroin that Minnesota police took off the streets just three years earlier. But individuals throughout the Twin Cities continue to abuse heroin and continue to overdose on this powerful and dangerous opioid. In just a few weeks in March 2016, heroin overdoses were responsible for seven deaths and more than 12 hospitalizations in the Twin Cities area.
As the statistics and stories on this page indicate, heroin and methamphetamine have the potential to inflict considerably, ongoing damage on individuals, families, and communities throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Both of these substances are powerful, addictive, and dangerous. Individuals can become addicted to heroin or meth within the first few times they abuse either drug and every time a person uses heroin or meth, he or she puts his or her life in jeopardy.
With effective professional care, both heroin addiction and meth addiction can be beaten. Until more people get help for their dependence, though, the Twin Cities will continue to feel the impact of these devastating addictions.