Dayton calls on Legislature to fight opioid scourge in Minnesota

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton said he’ll press for new legislation next year to crack down on opioid use.

President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency on Thursday, calling it the worst drug crisis in U.S. history. The declaration allows the federal government to redirect resources to fight opioid addiction but doesn’t include new funding.

In Minnesota, data shows opioid overdose deaths have grown by 430 percent in the last two decades. Lawmakers introduced several bills this spring to fight the spread of opioids, including legislation that would charge manufacturers 1 cent per pill to fund prevention and treatment programs. But those bills faced staunch opposition, including from the pharmaceutical industry.

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The Democratic governor said Thursday he’ll call on the Legislature to renew that effort in 2018.