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MDH: Minnesota Saw 18% Rise In Nonfatal Drug Overdoses In 2020

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) - Minnesota saw an 18% increase in nonfatal drug overdoses in 2020, according to state health officials.

The Minnesota Department of Health says 7,290 nonfatal overdoses were reported in 2020, compared to 6,196 in 2019. Opioids drove a large part of the increase, as well as stimulants, making up for 57% of nonfatal overdose hospital visits.

Health officials said that though COVID-19 has been the most pressing public health issue for nearly two years, other public health issues have not gone away.

"The opioid epidemic continues to be pervasive and requires continuing, comprehensive drug overdose prevention and response effort," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.

Number of Nonfatal ED Visits For Drug Overdose (Credit: MDH)

MDH data also shows that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by nonfatal overdoses, due to systemic racism and its influence on health care. American Indians were nine times more likely to experience a nonfatal overdose, and Black Minnesotans were three times more likely to experience a nonfatal overdose as white Minnesotans.

"As with fatal overdose data, we see populations most impacted by systemic racism are more often affected by substance use," said MDH Overdose Prevention Supervisor Dana Farley. "Systemic racism and lack of access to recovery resources hinders recovery efforts for many Minnesotans."

Rate Of Nonfatal ED Visits For Drug Overdose By Race (Credit: MDH)

Farley went on to say that MDH is working with community partners to amplify support for people on their way to recovery.

In the past month, some Minnesota law enforcement officials have voiced their concern about the rise in drug overdoses in their communities. In Mankato, officials said fentanyl was found in counterfeit pills, and four victims between 18 and 24 died due to overdoses. St. Paul Police similarly noted a rise in overdoses.

MDH says anyone can carry Naloxone, also known as Narcan, to reverse the effects of opioids. For more information, click here.

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