In 2016, 395 Minnesotans lost their lives due to overdosing on opioids, an increase of 18 percent from the previous year.

Last summer, the federal government awarded the state a two–year $10.6 million grant that increases access to treatment and reduces unmet treatment need.

The Minnesota Opioid Action Plan targets four areas; prevention, emergency response, treatment and recovery as well as law enforcement.

Governor Dayton says the effort to save lives reaches throughout all parts of the state.

Dayton said "Our two part goal is to save lives and to prevent harm. We're particularly focused on addressing the disparities in tribal communities and communities of color where overdose is remarkably in these communities and then for the state as a whole. It is addressed everywhere because the problem is everywhere."

One of the steps the state government has pursued is increasing the access of Naloxone or Narcan.

In 2014, Governor Dayton signed "Steve's Law," which allowed non–health care providers to administer the lifesaving medication that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose.

As of January 2017, pharmacies in Minnesota can dispense Naloxone to anyone who is at risk for, or knows someone who is at risk for, an opioid overdose.

Experts say there's no quick fix for the problem as accessibility and popularity of not just opioids but all drugs continues to rise, and becomes more challenging to stop the longer they're used.

Mankato and St. Peter school districts' chemical health counselor Michael McGinnis said "It's not hard to convince a middle schooler or a high schooler that drugs like opioids can be very dangerous. The difficult part is the stair stepping process going up to that with the variety of other substances that are available. As they become increasingly familiar with any of those, the idea that I can manage all of these, I can manage the next step up and that's usually what leads to the more significant or the more severe problems."

The state plans to request $12 million for the action plan with that money going toward grants to help local prevention efforts in fiscal 2019.

Governor Dayton also stated earlier Wednesday that he hopes to get $1 million passed early in the session so that the money can be distributed to agencies who currently don't have the drug, Naloxone.

Full plan be accessed here

- KEYC 12