County officials send alert about dozens of overdoses dozens in a matter of days

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Following a spike in overdoses, Health officials in Hennepin County say the county is in a fentanyl crisis.  

To help alert the public and share resources to help, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office posted what they call an “OD SPIKE ALERT” on Facebook after at least 40 overdoses within the last week — six of them were fatal.

“The whole nation is experiencing what would be considered I think a fentanyl crisis, and Hennepin County does not escape that reality,” Julie Bauch, the county’s opioid response coordinator, said.

“Our data shows that the majority, over 90%, of opioid overdoses and overdose deaths are related to fentanyl at this time,” Bauch added.

Their work also includes connecting with people in need.

“Once we know where they are, we send people and resources and support to them. And then of course, we want to treat — so we’re continuing to treat people who are ready to address opioid use disorder and substance use disorder,” Bauch said.

Part of the alert included addiction resources, information on where Naloxone can be found, and how you can take a free Naloxone training class.

It also breaks down what people should do if they see a suspected overdose:

  • Call 911
  • Move the person to their side
  • If the person is unresponsive, administer naloxone (Narcan) every two to three minutes as necessary
  • If naloxone is administered, the person still must be evaluated by EMS, even if they regain consciousness

The lifesaving medication is used frequently by a violence prevention group T.O.U.C.H Outreach — something that hasn’t always been part of their routine.

“We’ve been helping with Narcan maybe three times a week,” Muhammad Abdul-Ahad, executive director of T.O.U.C.H Outreach, said.

Last Saturday, he and his team had to use Narcan on someone near their headquarters at East Lake Street and Hiawatha Avenue, in Minneapolis — Abdul-Ahad said he’s not sure if the person survived because first responders arrived and took over.

“We have a team that really wants to focus on helping those individuals that’s in need,” Abdul-Ahad said, adding: “We have to come up with a real solution and help fix that problem and until then it’s just going to continue to get worse.”

He hopes to have conversations with county and city leaders, soon, to work towards those solutions — Abdul-Ahad feels with their resources and his knowledge of what’s happening on the streets, the collaboration can make a difference.