There is a new podcast series that addresses the issue of opioid abuse. “Stories from the Field” is put together by the Minnesota Department of Health and includes a number of experts in the health care field. Dr. Ryan Kelly of Minneapolis says in many cases people who get addicted start with pills prescribed to them by their doctor, but that can evolve rapidly.

“It doesn’t matter the past that someone took to become dependent on opioids. When you throw in social drivers of health, lack of housing, etc. You know the most affordable opioids for people that can’t get that prescribed from medical providers are heroin or something cheaper now is illicit, much more potent versions of fentanyl.”

Kelly says it is time to move beyond the idea that someone is choosing to use drugs and instead focus on increased access to help them. In 2020 Minnesota had 373 overdose deaths in just the first six months of the year, compared to 428 deaths in all of 2019.