STOP: Survival Through Overdose Prevention

“The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to stopping the spread of opioid use and curbing this epidemic. We have a real opportunity to address this problem during incarceration. We want to help and treat people at the jail, so they leave with a clear mind and with tools to help them continue their recovery.”

– Sheriff David Hutchinson, Hennepin County

The opioid crisis

Opioid-related deaths have reached epidemic levels and the numbers continue to increase. Opioid overdoses are now the leading cause of death in the U.S. for people under the age of 50. According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed on an average day in the U.S. DDS estimates that 3,900 people initiate the nonmedical use of prescription opioids every day.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 69,000 Americans died from drug overdose in 2018. Every day, more than 115 Americans die as a result of an opioid overdose. The misuse of addiction to prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl is a problem that affects urban, suburban, and rural communities all around the country.

Most individuals with an opioid use disorder report contact with the criminal justice system. Without treatment, they are at a significantly higher risk of death following incarceration. In Minnesota, 30% of opioid-related deaths occurred within in one year of release from a state, county, or local correctional facility. In Hennepin County, 55% of the deaths occurred in the first 90 days of release.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) can play a clear role in reducing opioid-related deaths. Sheriff David P. Hutchinson has developed the Survival Through Overdose Prevention (S.T.O.P.) strategy to fight the deadly epidemic.

“As a person in long-term recovery and having lost a loved one due to an opioid overdose, I am acutely aware of how the opioid epidemic impacts people throughout Minnesota.”

“The Steve Rummler HOPE Network is proud and grateful to have the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office as one of our dedicated overdose prevention, education, and advocacy partners. The Sheriff’s Office is instrumental in generating public awareness, education and community support relating to public health and safety laws. Also, through our training program, deputies and jail staff are now trained to administer lifesaving naloxone.”

– Lexi Reed Holtum, Executive Director, Steve Rummler HOPE Network

What we're doing

The HCSO is using a multi-pronged approach to dealing with the opioid epidemic. This includes strategies to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands, treating those with opioid use disorder in the jails, and using tools to prevent fatal overdoses.

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In the jail

The jail medical team is trained to recognize and treat patients affected by opioid use disorder.

  • A jail physician and nurse are embedded in the jail to treat inmates for opioid addiction.
  • Incoming inmates are screened for opioid use disorder upon entering the jail and are given appropriate treatment as needed.
  • Before an inmate is discharged from the Hennepin County Jail, they meet with a nurse coordinator to connect them with community clinics and on-going care.

Medicine disposal

Medicine disposal bags called Deterra bags can be obtained for free from HCSO office locations and are distributed at events throughout the county.

  • Deterra bags can help people dispose of their old medications safely. To use, simply open the bag, toss in the unused pills, add water, shake, and place in the trash.
  • Deterra bags are a clean, safe, and convenient option for disposal of unused medication.

Drug disposal boxes

  • There are dozens of drug disposal boxes across the county that can accept unused medications for proper disposal.

For the most current information

Every month more than half a ton of prescription drugs are destroyed. In 2018, 21,000 pounds of unused medication was destroyed by HCSO deputies.

Drug take-back

  • For the last several years, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office has worked with pharmacy partners like Walgreens and Hy-Vee to collect unused prescription drugs across Hennepin County.
  • On April, 27, 2019, deputies and volunteers collected 51 boxes of unused medications, weighing a total of 478 pounds.

NARCAN spray

  • All licensed and detention deputies are trained in the use and have access to a NARCAN kit. The kits include a dose of naloxone, which reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
  • In 2014, HCSO became the first public safety/first response organization to carry naloxone in Minnesota.
  • By 2018, all 45 cities within Hennepin County had first response agencies available to deploy naloxone.

Drug enforcement

  • Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office has a number of investigators tasked with fighting the influx of opioid and synthetics.
  • In 2018, the HCSO seized 1,401 grams of fentanyl powder and heroin, and removed 516 pills of the street.
  • Within the first quarter of 2019, 1,099 grams of fentanyl powder and heroin was confiscated and 432 pills were seized.

Events and education

Public education about the severity of the opioid crisis is an essential element of addressing this crisis. The HCSO holds a series of town halls about the opioid crisis to help educate the public. Jail medical staff and patrol deputies take every opportunity they get to talk to people suffering from opioid use disorder and helping them learn about the resources available to deal with their addiction.

Special events

The HCSO is partnering with area organizations such as athletic teams to host special events to help educate community members about the opioid epidemic and what they can do to help prevent future opioid abuse. Past events have included a booth at the Minnesota State Fair and special events with the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. 

Fall National Drug Take Back Day

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office will provide three convenient, free medication drop-off sites for the fall National Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 26. Each site will be located in a grocery store parking lot and staffed by Sheriff's Deputies who will collect unwanted medications - no need for residents to get out of their vehicles. Deputies will also hand out free medication disposal pouches for residents who may have additional medications at home that they wish to dispose of properly.

When: Saturday, October 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Where: Drop-off locations:

  • Cub Foods, Rogers – 13855 Rogers Drive, Rogers, MN

  • Jubilee Foods, Mound – 2131 Commerce Blvd, Mound, MN
  • Cub Foods at The Quarry, Minneapolis – 1540 New Brighton Blvd, Minneapolis, MN

Town hall meetings

The HCSO is partnering with area schools to host drug prevention and education town hall meetings for parents, guardians, grandparents, caregivers, and teachers. Speakers discuss current drug trends and dangers, and ways to prevent drug abuse.

Group meetings and presentations

Sheriff Hutchinson and members of the HCSO speak to community organizations on a regular basis about the opioid epidemic, current drug dangers, trends, and prevention. To request someone from the HCSO to speak about opioid abuse prevention, contact Jeremy Zoss.

Partnerships

The HCSO is partnering with a variety of individuals and organizations to assist educating the community about current drug dangers, trends, and prevention. Members of the coalition offer resources, feedback, and volunteer services for the HCSO opioid abuse prevention campaign. To learn more about partnering with the HCSO, contact Jeremy Zoss.

  • CVS
  • Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)
  • Hennepin Chiefs
  • Hennepin County Environment and Energy
  • Hennepin County Sheriff’s Foundation
  • Hy-Vee
  • National Sheriff’s Association
  • Steve Rummler HOPE Foundation
  • Walgreens
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