Duluth Police Report Highest Number of Opioid Overdoses in 2020
The Duluth Police Department reported some sobering statistics related to opioid-related overdoses for 2020.
Duluth Police say that since they began tracking opioid-related overdoses in 2013, 2020 had the highest number of opioid-related overdoses with 213 total. They also report that, pending toxicology reports, 20 people have died in Duluth city limits due to opioids last year.
If we look back, 2019 had 174 overdoses and 106 in 2018, so comparing 2018 to 2020 the numbers have doubled. The Duluth Police have had some successes to report with the use of Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, they say that they have saved 64 people using the drug in 2020, and since 2016 the use of the Naloxone have saved 188 people.
Duluth Police Chief, Mike Tusken says, "This is not a problem unique to Duluth. What is unique is how we are responding. We invest in people out in the field with boots on the ground. We meet people where they are at and are supportive in offering them timely assessment and treatment resources to give them hope in overcoming addiction."
In 2020 the Duluth Police Department was granted $899,055 that they say will be used over the next three years to create the Lake Superior Diversion and Substance Use Response Team. They say this team will evolve to expand focus to include methamphetamine, reduce delays in outreach and assessment, and provide services for a growing caseload.
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson said, "We are so proud to have creative and groundbreaking programs embedded in our police department that provide resources to help break the cycle of addiction, and we remain committed to continuing that work to improve the health and safety of all residents."
The Duluth Police say that if you or someone you know is suffering from addiction that help is just a phone call away with their Opioid Response Technician at 218-391-9639.
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