MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — While the cause of Prince’s death has not been determined, reports that he suffered from opioid addiction have put a spotlight on an epidemic in Minnesota.

Last year, there were 336 opioid-related deaths in the state. That number is six times higher than the death rate back in 2000.

On WCCO Sunday Morning, Lexi Reed Holtum, the executive director of the local Steve Rummler Hope Foundation, spoke with Esme Murphy about the prevalence of addiction and the need to raise awareness.

“What you need to know as a doctor and as a person who’s using these painkillers is that it is the same thing as taking street heroin,” she said. “Molecularly, oxycodone is two carbon molecules different than street heroin.”

Holtum added that the effects of painkillers on a user’s brain and body are physiologically identical to those produced by heroin.

To see the full WCCO Sunday Morning interview with Holtum, watch the video above.

Comments (5)