Group wants to distribute doses of opioid antidote

Published 7:04 pm Monday, September 4, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS — A Minnesota nonprofit wants to give away 24,000 doses of the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone to anyone in the state who might need it.

The number of naloxone doses the Steve Rummler Hope Network plans to distribute this year to police officers, parents, first responders and drug rehab staffers quadruples the group’s effort from last year. The nonprofit gave away 6,000 doses in 2016.

The group’s plans this year are possible because of a $200,000 state grant.

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“It saves lives. I am down for anything that saves lives,” said Dr. Anne Pylkas, the nonprofit’s medical director.

The state Health Department said more than 500 people died from opioid overdoses in Minnesota in 2015.

That’s a 600 percent increase from 2000.

The parents of Steve Rummler founded the nonprofit after their son died of an overdose in 2011.

Steve Rummler was a successful financial adviser who was engaged to be married to his high school sweetheart, Reed Holtum. He became addicted to painkillers after he was prescribed opioids to treat persistent back pain.

“There was no amount of willpower that will rewire brain pathways established from prescription opioid use for years,” Holtum said.

The Steve Rummler Hope Network lobbied state lawmakers to pass “Steve’s Law” in 2014, allowing for greater distribution of naloxone with a doctor’s supervision. It also provided immunity for those who use it or call 911 to report an overdose, even if the caller has illegal drugs.

This summer, the nonprofit trained staffers and provided naloxone at Minneapolis Community Technical College, Minnesota State University in Mankato, and a big-box store after someone overdosed in a parking lot.