How to reverse Minnesota's heroin overdose epidemic - KMSP-TV

How to reverse Minnesota's heroin overdose epidemic

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Sen. Amy Klobuchar held a roundtable discussion Sunday to address what needs to be done to get heroin out of Minnesota communities.

In Hennepin County alone, the number of heroin deaths over the past few years has skyrocketed from 6 in 2008 to 56 in 2013.

The availability and purity of heroin in Minnesota is leading to this epidemic. What's most alarming is 4 out of 5 heroin users started with prescription pain killers.

"Historically it was little bit more of disadvantaged populations, and now you see it's all-American kids, it's kids in your neighborhood, it's kids that you'd never suspect cross that line," said Dr. Joseph Lee from Hazelden addiction treatment center. "The sad thing is we don't pay attention to it until somebody famous dies."

HEROIN STATS

- 4 out of 5 heroin users started with prescription pain killers.

- As many as 80 percent of heroin users do it with another addict

- More than half of overdose victims are found alone

To reverse that trend, experts say they need to break the heroin culture in which addicts are afraid to call for help for fear of being arrested.

RECOVERING ADDICT: 'It's like playing Russian roulette'

INVESTIGATORS: Overdose antidote

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