NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — Wednesday is International Overdose Awareness Day, and many departments in North Dakota are teaming up to help raise awareness about drug overdoses.
The North Dakota Department of Health, Highway Patrol, and Human Services are working together to share prevention resources.
According to the Department of Health’s Violent Death Reporting System, there were 115 drug overdose deaths in 2020 alone.
Preliminary data from 2021 shows North Dakota had 131 drug overdose deaths, with nearly 40%, involving people between the ages of 30 and 39.
So far this year, that age group remains the same.
But now in our state, there are many resources available to help stop addiction.
“It is important for individuals to recognize that there are ways to prevent death by overdose and to know that there are options to reverse an overdose,” State Opioid Treatment Authority, James Knopik said.
Data Management for the State, Kodi Pinks says North Dakota’s numbers have gone up just like the rest of the country.
“So when you look back at 2019, there was 76 drug overdose deaths. When you look at 2021, we were up to 131 overdose deaths but that again is preliminary because toxicology results take several months to get the results in, “Pinks says.
So far this year, toxicology reports have shown 30 cases where fentanyl was reported as opposed to 2019 where 32 cases were in, that stat alone shows the direct increase.
She says this year there has been a total of 48 drug overdose deaths so far.
Pinks says meth and opioids are the largest illicit drugs of choice and even Xylazine which does not respond to Narcan.
She says sometimes people don’t even know that they are taking such hard drugs.
“I think that’s the scariest part about this fentanyl epidemic is when you think you’re you know you take your young college-age students do you have people that are maybe trying something for the first time and they don’t know it’s Laced with fentanyl and because fentanyl is not regulated by these people that are making these drugs illegally they don’t know how much is put in that one single pill that they’re taking and so they can easily overdose, “Pinks said.
Since our state provides timely data, North Dakota is able to make a difference and save lives every day.
The state’s Opioid Treatment Authority says this has been an ongoing effort between the collaborating partners.