Opioid crisis

Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl is an increasing crisis that affects families and communities throughout the U.S.

Learn how Hennepin County is responding to this crisis.

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The opioid epidemic

Far-reaching impact

In the U.S.

    Opioid deaths affect youth

    In Hennepin County

    • 40% of total jail population related to opioid use
    • 72% increase in child protection cases resulting from drug abuse

    Opioid deaths have risen rapidly and significantly

    Across the U.S.

    Opioid deaths are increasing

    In Hennepin County

    Line graph of opioid-induced deaths in the county

    Source: MDH Center for Health Statistics; geocoding, analysis and forecast by Hennepin County Public Health.

    Opioid affects are worse for some groups

    Deaths disproportionately affect young adults

    Line graph showing opioids affect African American and American Indians

    Source: 2000-2016 geocoded death records, MDH Center for Health Statistics.

    Deaths disproportionately affect American Indians and African Americans 


    Bar graph showing opiod-induced deaths in the county

    Source: 2000-2016 geocoded death records, MDH Center for Health Statistics ; 2017 provisional death, MDH Office of Vital Records.

    Hennepin County’s response

    Our approach

    Hennepin County's approach to the opioid crisis includes the following three pillars and nine priorities:

    Primary prevention

    To prevent the further spread of the opioid crisis, our approach will include:

    • Monitoring and communication
    • Education and stigma reduction
    • Managing access
    • Safe storage and disposal
    • Public safety interventions


    To avert overdose deaths, our approach focuses on:

    • Rescue
    • Harm reduction

    Treatment and recovery

    We will provide evidence-based treatment and recovery services that include:

    • Access to treatment and recovery services
    • Justice-involved supports

    Next steps

    Hennepin County will:

    • Assign someone to carry out this strategy
    • Partner with disproportionately impacted communities
    • Define a naloxone response for county facilities
    • Provide prescriber training on opioid guidelines

    Learn more

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