Updated: 08/01/2014 7:00 AM
Created: 07/31/2014 9:33 PM KSTP.com
By: Cassie Hart
Friday marks a historic day in the battle against heroin in Minnesota.
Hennepin County Sheriff's Deputies will become the first in the state to carry the heroin antidote Narcan.
The move comes after a new law passed this year. Officials say the law comes at an important time as the number of heroin-related deaths continues to rise, breaking records in 2013.
Fifty-six people died in 2013 compared to eight in 2010.
The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and a panel of experts spoke with the public in Minneapolis on Thursday about how to prevent heroin use and medicine abuse.
“Law enforcement officers are often the first people to arrive to emergency scenes,” Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said. “Now that law enforcement has the opportunity to carry Narcan, it’s another valuable tool to help us save lives and prevent needless tragedies.”
This week, Narcan made headlines when two police officers in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, administered the antidote to save the life of a person who had overdosed on heroin.
Officials say that properly disposing of prescription drugs is one thing community members can do to help stop the heroin problem in the Twin Cities.
A growing number of young people start abusing prescription drugs and then switch to heroin because it’s cheaper and easier to buy, police say.
Hennepin County has six drug disposal bins to turn in unused, unwanted or outdated medicine; the drugs are collected from the bins every day and eventually destroyed.