Suicides and other "preventable deaths" in Minnesota hit record highs



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Suicide and opioid overdose deaths increased in Minnesota in 2017, continuing a trend that began in 2000 and reaching record levels, according to data released Monday by state health officials. , who termed "worrying trend in the long run".

Suicide deaths increased by 5%, while opioid overdose deaths increased by 12%. Alcohol-related deaths have declined slightly in 2017, but have also shown a long-term increase, according to the state's Department of Health report.

State officials have stated that such deaths can be prevented through appropriate sensitization and treatment. Taken together, deaths have many causes, but "a key factor is the lack of social relationships and opportunities," said Jan Malcolm, Commissioner for Health.

The Legislative Assembly of Minnesota examines several proposals during this session, including a bill that was passed Monday by the House of Representatives in a vote by 94 votes to 34, to increase funding for treatment , prevention and other services related to substance abuse.

In addition, several communities across the state have stepped up their efforts to identify people at risk of suicide, refer them to treatment and follow up. And 30 communities are tracking alcohol-related incidents, including assaults and driving under the influence, to detect restaurants and bars that could serve too much alcohol to their customers.

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in Minnesota with 783 deaths in 2017. The suicide rate for men has increased by 9%, while the rate for women has decreased by 10%.

State health officials aim to reduce the number of suicides by 20% by 2025.

"One of the things we know is that treatment can work and recovery is possible for [people considering] suicide, "said Melissa Heinen, epidemiologist in suicide prevention at the Department of Health.

Sixteen agencies receive grants to implement what is called a Zero Suicide Model, which mobilizes all the resources of a health agency and its partners to identify people at risk.

"Suicidal people often fall into a sometimes fragmented health system," said Laura Heller, a medical social worker at RiverView Health, a Crookston hospital and clinic system. "It takes a systematic approach to improve the quality of these people." It involves training everyone, including receptionists, social workers, and doctors, to detect warning signs and to reach those who might to need help. It also means working with local schools, police and other community resources.

"It works with what you have to create your community … that can save lives," said Darin Prescott, director of community health and community health and social services clinic for Morton's Lower Sioux Indian community. .

Financing processing

The new data on overdose deaths, which climbed to 422 in 2017, were at the forefront of concern when the House of Representatives of Minnesota on Monday considered a broad package of measures to combat the epidemic of opioids in the state. The proposal would leverage $ 20 million for prevention and treatment by increasing licensing fees for drug manufacturers and adding new requirements to limit prescriptions for acute pain.

Opponents, including those representing the pharmaceutical industry, argued that increased fees would increase the cost of prescription drugs for consumers. But advocates say the increase is needed to help fund local and national agencies that are now bearing the costs of the opioid crisis. Representative Liz Olson, lead author of the House 's proposal, said Monday' s data underscored the urgency to act now on the issue.

"Even if this crisis started a while ago, once you've prescribed these pills, the effects will last for years and years and years," Democrat Duluth said. "Unfortunately, we still have some way to go before we really turn the tide."

A similar proposal is moving to the Senate controlled by the Republicans. Senator Julie Rosen of the R-Vernon Center said legislators needed to "get this bill through" and send a message to pharmaceutical companies that "your business practices are not acceptable." vote.

"It sends a signal to the community, the people who are suffering and all the people involved that … we are doing our part," she said. "We have contributed what we can [and] now we are serious about asking everyone else to be at the table and to contribute equally. "

The opioid epidemic in Minnesota is now in its third phase, said Nate Wright, who follows drug overdoses for the Department of Health. What started with the abuse of prescription painkillers has turned into street drugs such as heroin and is now increasingly concerned with synthetic opioids, such as the powerful fentanyl drug.

"Much of the increase we see in opioid-related deaths is due to synthetics," Wright said. And, he added, "deaths occur in a younger population than that seen in prescription-related deaths."

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