As part of Minnesota’s continuing battle against opioid addiction, the governor’s office announced a $5.4 million federal grant Friday to help increase prevention, treatment and recovery.
The Opioid State Targeted Response Grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will supplement Gov. Mark Dayton’s dedicated funding to eradicate a top public health concern.
“Since 2000, deaths from opioid overdoses have increased by 430 percent in Minnesota. While the makers of these prescription painkillers are making billions in profits, Minnesotans are dying and our public health system is overwhelmed by the demands for prevention, treatment and recovery,” Lt. Gov. Tina Smith said in a statement.
Nationally, since 2000, deaths from opioid overdoses have increased 200 percent. Minnesota has seen a similar impact and is now seeing overdose deaths from the drug carfentanil, which is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
Overdoses in the state also are disproportionately affecting women and American Indians. Last fall, Dayton and Smith partnered with Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations to convene the Tribal-State Opioid Summit. The group issued a report this year with recommendations including strengthening partnerships between tribes, the state and the federal government and supporting cultural engagement and other culturally focused services.
In Dayton’s budget, he wants to hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for their role in the epidemic by increasing the fee on these prescriptions and then investing the $42 million generated to prevent and treat opioid addiction and abuse.