Gov. Mark Dayton hopes $16.6M in new spending will prevent opioid deaths

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is dedicating $16.6 million in state and federal money to help address Minnesota’s growing opioid crisis, which took 376 lives last year.

More than 30 agencies statewide, including tribal governments, counties and community groups, will be awarded the money over the next three years. It will be focused on prevention, treatment and recovery programs.

Emily Piper, Minnesota's human services commissioner (Forum News Service)
Emily Piper, Minnesota’s human services commissioner (Forum News Service)

“This funding is critical to all our efforts to stop the terrible damage we’ve seen to individuals, families, and communities,” Emily Piper, Minnesota’s human services commissioner, said in a statement announcing the grants. “No one needs to die of opioid overdose; too many lives have been lost already.”

Piper and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith announced the new spending Friday at the Wayside Recovery Center in St. Louis Park. Wayside will receive $721,800 to expand a peer recovery program that helps women who have been recently released from prison.

“We are excited to receive these grants, because it will allow us to reach even more women and give them the access to treatment they need,” said Dr. Jessie Everts, vice president of clinical programs at Wayside. “We need to offer them a variety of resources and tools, because recovery looks different to everyone.”


The grants will support successful existing programs and new efforts including: medication-assisted addiction treatment; peer support for new mothers; and increased access to naloxone, an opioid antidote.

Hennepin County Medical Center, Fairview Health Services and Ramsey County Mothers First will all receive new funding from the grants.

More than $12 million of the grant funding comes from federal resources including the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis program and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA.

CARA was championed by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and a bipartisan group of lawmakers. It was signed into law in 2016.


Klobuchar and other state and federal lawmakers also have sponsored other legislation to rein in the opioids flooding communities nationwide. In October, President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency.

In 2016, there were more than 3.5 million prescriptions were written in Minnesota for opioids, enough for 62 percent of the population to have one.

Last year, 2,450 Minnesotans overdosed on opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin, and 376 of those overdoses were fatal. That’s a dramatic increase from 2008 when fewer than 10 residents died from heroin overdoses.

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