Sheriffs fight opioid addiction during Minnesota State Fair


(Photo courtesy of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)
Visitors at the Minnesota State Fair learn about opioid addiction Aug 26 at the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office booth.

The Hennepin, Ramsey, Carver and Dakota county sheriff’s offices will educate fairgoers about drug abuse and prevention at the #NOverdose booth at the Minnesota State Fair.

The booth will provide information about medicine disposal and the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Statewide information about medication collection locations will be available at the booth, and there will be a squad car available for tours and photos.

Due to the record number of opioid-related deaths in 2016 in Hennepin County, the sheriff’s office launched a drug abuse prevention campaign called #NOverdose.

“If Hennepin County experienced 73 homicides during the first half of the year people would be demanding more be done to reduce the number of deaths,” said Sheriff Rich Stanek. “The State Fair provides us with an opportunity to educate tens-of-thousands of community members about dangers of drug abuse, what they can do to help prevent future abuse, and what law enforcement is doing to fight this deadly epidemic.”

The sheriff’s office reached a milestone recently in its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic as it surpassed 100,000 pounds (50 tons) of household medication collected in Hennepin County since the program began in 2012.

Seventy percent of prescription drug abusers say that they obtained their supply of prescription medications from friends and family. Properly disposing of prescription medication, such as opioids, can significantly decrease the likelihood of individuals having access to these highly addictive drugs.

The medication that is collected by the sheriff’s office is destroyed by incineration, a method that has been found to be the most environmentally friendly while also rendering the drugs inert.

To learn more about the Hennepin County medication disposal program, bit.ly/2ohagrv.