On May 19, 2019, a major step toward fighting the opioid crisis was reached as Minnesota lawmakers passed a bill to address the ongoing issue. The bill, aimed to raise and invest money into addiction and preventative services, will do so by raising fees on drug makers.
Much of the funding received by the higher fees would fund strategies to reduce and prevent these overdoses. The rest of the money would go toward reimbursing Minnesota counties who put funds toward aiding families hurt by the epidemic. The state is set to collect around $20 million per year from opioid manufacturers and distributors due to registration fees -- and another $250 million from collections and court settlements with drug manufacturers.
How bad is the opioid crisis?
Opioid overdose deaths are not slowing down. In 2017, opioids caused 70,237 deaths.
Reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics show that from 1999-2017, the rate of drug overdose deaths has increased in every age group. The greatest increase occurred in adults aged 55-64, from 4.2 overdose deaths per 1,000 people to 28 deaths per 1,000 people.
The main culprits of these overdose deaths are synthetic opioids such as, fentanyl and tramadol. The deaths associated with synthetic opioids increased 45% between 1999 and 2017.
Even though Minnesota’s overdose death rate is lower than the standard rate across the United States, it’s still a budding issue. Opioid overdoses cost over 400 Minnesotans their lives in 2017.
Bills continue to be passed and settlements handed out to help curb the issue and aid the suffering families who lost a loved one, but the overdoses persist. Be aware of the dangers opioids present to yourself, your family and your friends.