In 2022, the Bloomington Police Department responded to 77 overdoses; during the first eight months of 2023 alone, 57 overdose incidents have been reported. Opioid-related deaths have risen steadily across the country, and in Minnesota, the number of deaths from opioid overdoses doubled between 2019 and 2021. This is also a health inequity, as these rates disproportionately affect non-white residents.
The misuse of and addiction to prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl is an increasing crisis that affects families and communities throughout the U.S. While this crisis is a national concern, local resources are needed to meet the needs of individuals impacted by the crisis in our own communities.
The state of Minnesota intends to combat these trends. The Attorney General’s office has joined in a multistate settlement intended to combat the opioid crisis at the state and local level. The Bloomington Public Health Division is collaborating with stakeholders across Bloomington, Edina and Richfield to address prevention, rapid response and treatment needs across the three cities.
The Bloomington Public Health Division aims to address the opioid crisis through accessible and community-based prevention strategies and equitable access to systems. We sustain this work through responsible collaboration, data-driven efforts and responsible, sustainable funding.
Build, implement and evaluate sustainable infrastructure, data collection methods, partnerships, prevention outreach and education, and rapid response strategies.
Know the Dangers: This website locates nearby pharmacies and syringe services programs that offer naloxone (Narcan®) for free or low cost.
Oasis for Youth meets the needs of youth through individualized case management, connections to resources, improved access to services and supports, and assistance with basic needs. Their Drop In Center provides necessities and a variety of services free of charge.
One principal component of Bloomington Public Health’s overdose response framework is utilizing a harm reduction-based approach.
“The goal of harm reduction is to move people to the place where they are most realized, healthy and safe. For some, that place is abstinence, but for others it’s not, because abstinence from drug use is not an actual requirement for full participation in society.” —Dr. Vitka Eisen, board member, National Council for Mental Wellbeing.
Harm reduction recognizes that abstinence is not more important than someone’s life. Instead, this approach prioritizes individual and community health and social outcomes over complete abstinence from drugs.
Practices like naloxone administration are vital forms of harm reduction. Access to naloxone saves lives and meets people where they are in terms of opioid use.