MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The war against drug overdoses has ripped through communities across the country. And now, police across the Twin Cities are dealing with a frightening battle of their own.
“These spikes are unheard of, and the fact that we’re talking 65 overdoses in nine days, that’s astronomical,” said Minneapolis Police Spokesperson John Elder.
From May 28 to June 3, authorities responded to 50 incidents and one fatality, marking an all-time high number of overdoses for Minneapolis.
“We are blessed that it’s not more deaths than it already is,” Elder said.
The cases are spread across the city, but the majority of calls came from the East Phillips neighborhood. An emergency treatment to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose is being credited with rescuing people from death, but it’s not foolproof.
“This is a lifesaver. People need to understand though that there’s going to be times when Narcan’s not going to work,” Elder said.
Lexi Reed Holtum was instrumental in passing Steve’s Law, which grants immunity to people who call 911 in an overdose event, even if they are using
“You can’t save your own life,” Holtum said.
Her fiancé, Steve Rummler, died of a heroin overdose in 2011.
“If you know somebody that’s struggling with the disease of addiction, specifically to opioids, then you should take responsibility for trying to help them,” Holtum said.
She hopes that Narcan will be as common one day as AED devices in schools and businesses, which will save lives and spread hope.
In response, a new overdose coordinator position has been created at the Minneapolis Police Department. That person will be responsible for reviewing all overdose incidents, then identify any patterns to look for the potential source of these drugs and shut it down.