I was interested to read the article “Officials work to combat rising opioid overdoses,” published Feb. 22 on the Southwest Journal website. As with many health issues, the problem of opioid abuse is a gut-wrenching and complicated challenge and involves multiple contributing factors. Addressing it will require a collective community effort.
One local initiative not mentioned in the article is the work being done by Hennepin County Public Health’s Red Door clinic. Since 2015, Red Door has offered Naloxone, a medication that blocks the effects of opioids and can prevent overdose deaths. Anyone — including the family or friends of an opioid user — can walk in to Red Door during clinic hours to pick up Naloxone. The clinic is also a place where opioid users can get tested for infections and get connected to recovery resources. Red Door is committed to confidentiality and will not turn anyone away because of an inability to pay.
Additionally, Hennepin County runs a medication collection and disposal program to curb the excess supply of opioids. Residents can bring their unused or expired opioids to nine drop box locations within the county. The initiative helps prevent opioid abuse, accidental poisoning, and water contamination.
Opioid abuse is a serious public health concern that must be addressed by all sectors of our community. We appreciate Southwest Journal’s effort to raise public awareness around this issue.
Hennepin County Commissioner, District 3 (Southwest Minneapolis and St. Louis Park)