MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Anoka County authorities are investigating what they call an “alarming” wave of heroin overdoses from this weekend.

Six people, who authorities say did not know each other, overdosed in Anoka County on Saturday from heroin. Two of them died.

On Friday, police found three people unconscious at the Mall of America from apparent drug overdoses. Investigators are trying to determine if the overdoses are related to one source.

Randy Anderson of the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation has counseled people dealing with addiction for more than a decade.

“Addiction doesn’t care what religion you are, it doesn’t care how much money you have, it doesn’t care what neighborhood you live in,” Anderson said.

The people who overdosed in Anoka County were all in their 20s, according to the sheriff’s office. The six cases happened over the course of 12 hours, shocking drug abuse experts and law enforcement across Minnesota.

“We haven’t seen something like this yet in our state as far back as I can remember,” Anderson said.

Commander Paul Sommer of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said first responders were able to give the people who survived Naloxone, a medication designed to block the effects of opioids in overdose.

The medication has the brand name Narcan. Anderson teaches everyday people how to use the medication at trainings that are open to the public.

“We basically walk you through what an opioid overdose looks like,” Anderson said.

The Steve Rummler Hope Foundation is named after a man whose story started with a legal prescription for pain. Anderson says it’s a story that is becoming more common among Minnesotans.

“Steve had been prescribed pain medication for a back injury and it progressed to where he could no longer get pain medication so he went and got heroin for the first time and overdosed and died,” Anderson said.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports drug overdose deaths jumped 11 percent from 2014 to 2015.

“We don’t believe we’ve even seen the plateau yet of this,” Anderson said of the overdose death rates. Anderson also expressed concern that more addicts would hear of the overdoses and try to come to the area to get more drugs.

“The sad thing is as an addict when you hear of overdoses, they almost flock to the area because they believe there is a good drug there where they can get a smaller amount and feel the same effects,” Anderson said.

The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office says it would ask for third-degree murder charges if investigators find the supplier of the drugs that led to the lethal overdoses. Sommer also said at least one of the families of one of the people who died from a weekend overdose had no idea the man had problems with drugs.

Sommer said it is not uncommon for family members not to be aware of a loved one’s addiction problems or experimentation with drugs.

Here is more information about training to help those who may have overdosed and those dealing with addiction.

http://steverummlerhopefoundation.org/event/naloxone-training-uptown-minneapolis/

November 3 — 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Lund’s Community Room Uptown, 1450 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408

http://steverummlerhopefoundation.org/event/naloxone-training-st-louis-park/

November 17 @ 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Lund’s Community Room St. Louis Park, 3777 Park Center Boulevard
St. Louis Park, MN 55416

http://steverummlerhopefoundation.org/event/naloxone-training-uptown-minneapolis-3/

December 1 @ 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Lund’s Community Room Uptown, 1450 West Lake Street
Minneapolis, MN 55408 United States

Comments (8)
  1. NonLib says:

    Alarming??!!
    Why ?
    You IMMORTALIZE a Purple addict after his OD.
    Do need to repeat that??
    ou have access to ‘scripts everywhere, you put a Pub and Micro on every block and you wonder and are alarmed??

    1. Dan Mack says:

      Amy Klobuchar is not alarmed. She is working for us by multiplying the number of Minnesota drug dealers and manufacturers selling alcohol, and is proud to idolize and facilitate ticket sales to crack and opiate dens. She works tirelessly on getting more crack and heroin into Minnesota through her open boarders and trade agreements with the Mexican cartels. Amy is a true hero of the Socialist Welfare Village.

  2. Tony Clifton says:

    What is alarming, are the amount of entities, that find it necessary to drug themselves on a daily basis, weather with hard drugs, or booze.

  3. dolorfinis says:

    Harm reduction is what is needed. No more money, time & resources to keep fighting a drug war that’s raged on for decades without any tangible success, at all, & is causing massive amounts of problems all over the country. Harm reduction is what is needed. Policy must be made to stop the drug war with the objective of shutting down the black market. The drug war has failed. The drug war is driving the problems, not fixing them. Decriminalization/legalization is necessary, it needs to be backed up with public health announcements explaining exactly why it is needed. Its not in any way condoning the abuse of addictors, it is done bc the alternative, the drug war, has made things infinitely worse on almost every level, to include making drugs abundantly available to any & all that wants them.
    We need to pull LE out of the drug biz – that will free up a lot of resources currently chasing their collective tails. When the laws create more harm and cause more damage than they prevent, its time to change the laws. The $1 TRILLION so-called war on drugs is a massive big government failure – on nearly every single level. Its way past time to put the cartels & black market drug dealers out of business. Mass incarceration has failed. We cant even keep drugs out of a contained & controlled environment like prison.
    We need the science of addiction causation to guide prevention, treatment, recovery & public policies. Otherwise, things will inexorably just continue to worsen & no progress will be made. Addiction causation research has continued to show that some people (suffering with addiction) have a “hypo-active endogenous opioid/reward system.” This is the (real) brain disease, making addiction a symptom, not a disease itself. One disease, one pathology. Policy must be made reflecting addiction(s) as a health issue.
    The war on drugs is an apotheosis of the largest & longest war failure in history. It actually exposes our children to more harm & risk and does not protect them whatsoever. In all actuality, the war on drugs is nothing more than an international projection of a domestic psychosis. It is not the “great child protection act,” its actually the complete opposite.
    The lesson is clear: Drug laws do not stop people from harming themselves, but they do cause addicts to commit crimes and harm others. We need a new approach that decriminalizes the disease. We must protect society from the collateral damage of addiction and stop waging war on ourselves. We must implement policy that stops this war on ourselves. We need common sense harm reduction approaches desperately. MAT (medication assisted treatment) and HAT (heroin assisted treatment) must be available options. Of course, MJ should not be a sched drug at all.
    Every human being is precious, worthy of love and belonging, and deserves opportunities to fulfill his or her potential regardless of past trauma, mental and emotional anguish, addictive behaviors or mistakes made.

  4. The idea of prescription opiates led to Heroin addiction is not true. My son died from a Heroin and Fentanyl over dose. If you really want to blame in Heroin and Fentanyl is the Middle man in the Drug trade with mixing Fentanyl with Heroin. That is the killer culprit looking for more $ per gram sold. Common Drug practice would say, Keep them coming back, but don’t overdose them. Heroin will do that by it self in due time. But not on the first shot. The first shot now is OD with Fentanyl mixed in. The US has to Stop the influx of Fentanyl first. Then the Heroin 2nd if we want to stop all the deaths. Our young people are dyeing!