Gov. Walz addresses opioid crisis with community leaders at roundtable discussion

Local leaders from law enforcement and addiction treatment organizations discussed ways to address the opioid crisis during a roundtable discussion with Gov. Tim Walz on Monday morning.

Video of the live stream roundtable can be viewed below:

Others who joined in the discussion include Rep. Angie Craig, Minnesota Addiction and Recovery Director Jeremy Drucker, Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate, President of the Native American Community Clinic Dr. Anthony Stately, Executive Director of the Metro Youth Diversion Center Rashad Ahmed, Program Facilitator for Change the Outcome Hanna Kazempour, and Bridgette Norring, a mother who lost her son to fentanyl poisoning.

Kazempour said that she hopes to remove the stigma around carrying Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, so young people can carry it in the event of an overdose.

“Approximately 33% of our students know someone who’s experienced an overdose, and 50% of students know someone who has struggled with a substance use disorder,” Kazempour said.

Stately said that for many in the Native American community, the emphasis should be on harm reduction.

“Treating opioid addiction as a substance use problem solely over the last couple of decades has not served us very well as a nation,” Stately said. “So taking a public health approach is really important.”

Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate spoke about law enforcement efforts to control the problem, and pointed to the work done to hold people accountable.

“If we can put a case together, everywhere you look, there is an intensity, a vigor, to prosecute these individuals that are poisoning our folks,” Chief Tate said.

The governor’s office said last year, Walz signed $200 million into law to address substance use and the opioid crisis.

RELATED: Walz creates new position, subcabinet, council to combat opioid epidemic

This year, the administration says it will spend another $25 million to address the crisis.

The Minnesota Department of Health said it is accepting proposals for several million dollars in grants for opioid overdose prevention.

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