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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Previous reports have documented increases in drug overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic and now the Minnesota Department of Health has issued a report showing there was also a significant increase in non-fatal overdoses.

The study found there were nearly 7300 non-fatal emergency room treated drug overdoses in 2020. That's an 18 percent increase over the nearly 6200 cases in 2019. While the news release highlights the increase during the pandemic, Minnesota also experienced an 18 percent increase in non-fatal overdoses in 2019 when the grim tally rose by nearly 1000 from the 5200 cases in 2018.

Minnesota Dept. of Health

“The report on nonfatal overdoses in Minnesota is a reminder that so many lives are tragically impacted by substance use,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest public health issue in the world for almost two years now, but the other pressing public health issues have not gone away. The opioid epidemic continues to be pervasive and requires continuing, comprehensive drug overdose prevention and response efforts.”

The data shows a majority of the cases involved opioids and stimulants. The Health Department report says 57 percent of the patients in non-fatal overdoses treated at Minnesota Emergency Departments had ingested substances from one or both of the drug categories.

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