Overdose deaths up 27% in Minnesota last year, MDH says

The number of preventable overdose deaths spiked last year, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

MDH said 1,008 Minnesotans died from an overdose in 2020, a 27% increase from the year prior.

According to the department, opioid deaths rose 59%, and those involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl and fentanyl analogues rose 81%.

"Minnesota families are struggling, and the overdose deaths in 2020 are a terrible reminder that those struggles can result in preventable deaths," MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm said. "The year has been unprecedented in so many ways, and the staggering number of drug overdose deaths shows the need to amplify our prevention efforts and strengthen the ability of communities to support people and connect them with services."

Deaths from non-opioids also rose in 2020. Psychostimulant-involved deaths, which includes methamphetamine, rose 44%, according to MDH, while those involving benzodiazepines increased 70% and deaths involving cocaine jumped 41%.

"The last year has been incredibly challenging and demonstrates the need for increased public health measures," Dana Farley, MDH drug overdose prevention supervisor, said. "Prevention tools such as access to naloxone, linkages to care and overdose fatality reviews improve our understanding of why people are using drugs and lead to recovery and saved lives."

More information is available on the Drug Overdose Dashboard.

Support and recovery resources are available here.