Heroin abuse is rising in Minnesota, and it’s inexpensive, easily available, and deadlier than ever, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “In Minnesota, heroin is everywhere,” said Carol Falkowski, drug abuse strategy officer for the Minnesota Department of Human Services. In the past decade, the percentage of treatment-center admissions for heroin addiction has doubled in the state, from 3.3 percent in 2000 to 6.7 percent in 2010. Heroin-related visits to Twin Cities emergency rooms rose from 1,023 in 2005 to 1,855 in 2009.
Among men tested for drugs upon entering the Hennepin County jail last year, nearly 10 percent were positive for heroin or other opiates — the third consecutive year that percentage increased, Sheriff Rich Stanek said. Heroin cases now exceed the state’s methamphetamine and cocaine cases combined. The problem shows itself in ways beyond numbers. Quinn Strobl, who serves as coroner to 19 counties in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, told of one woman who said she couldn’t understand how her daughter died of an overdose, that her daughter had been such “a responsible heroin user.” Strobl recently heard another parent speak almost matter-of-factly about losing a child to heroin. “I try to tell them that when you’re injecting something in your body that you buy on the street from an illegal source, you can’t be responsible,” Strobl said.