Minnesota announces $16.6 M in grants to fight opioid crisis

Published 10:00 pm Sunday, November 5, 2017

ST. PAUL — Minnesota officials announced Friday that $16.6 million in federal grant money will go toward addiction prevention, treatment and other efforts designed to combat a rising number of opioid-related overdoses and deaths in the state.

The money will go to more than 30 agencies statewide including tribal governments, counties and community organizations over the next three years. One organization, Wayside Recovery Center in St. Louis Park, received $721,800 for expansion of a peer recovery program and other initiatives.

The grants were announced Friday by Lt. Governor Tina Smith and Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper.

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“Opioid overdoses deaths have increased in Minnesota by 430 percent since 2000. These Minnesotans were our friends, neighbors and family members,’” Smith said in a statement. “These new grants will help more Minnesotans all across the state get the assistance they need before it’s too late.”

Statistics from the Minnesota Department of Health show that in 2008, fewer than 10 people died from heroin overdoses in Minnesota. By 2016, that number grew to 142. The total number of all opioid-related deaths in 2016 was 376.

“This funding is critical to all our efforts to stop the terrible damage we’ve seen to individuals, families, and communities,” Piper said. “Minnesota — like the rest of the nation — is in the middle of an opioid crisis. No one needs to die of opioid overdose; too many lives have been lost already.”

The grant money will go toward a variety of initiatives, including expanding access to naloxone, which is an antidote to an opioid overdose, launching a website that will show the availability of treatment beds in real time, and increasing peer recovery and care coordination specific to opioid addiction.