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The abuse of heroin and other opiates reached the highest levels yet in the Twin Cities in 2011 according to a new report on Twin Cities’ drug abuse trends released today by the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Heroin accounted for 10 percent of addiction treatment admissions in the first half of 2011, compared with 3.3 percent in 2000. Other opiates, which include most prescription painkillers, accounted for 9.3 percent of treatment admissions in the first half of 2011, compared to 1.4 percent in 2000.
In 2011 the use of synthetic substances for their hallucinogenic drug-like effects also increased. Hennepin Regional Poison Center saw a marked increase in 2011 in reported incidents involving THC homologs (“fake pot” sold as herbal incense,) phenylethylamines such as 2C-E (sold as “research chemicals,”) and various chemical compounds sold as “bath salts.”
“With the emergence and growth of these dangerous and addictive drugs, it is imperative that communities educate themselves, embrace prevention efforts, and become part of the solution,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, noting an unprecedented rate of one in five treatment admissions for opiate addiction.. “Community involvement is the key to reversing these trends.”
Carol Falkowski, DHS drug abuse strategy officer, has prepared the report on drug abuse trends twice annually since 1986. The report was done as part of a national epidemiological drug abuse monitoring network composed of drug abuse researchers in 20 U.S. cities and convened by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
A copy of the report is available on the DHS web site.