Recent overdoses has Mankato officials raising awareness on opioids

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 6:38 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2021 at 6:53 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - In recent weeks, there have been four overdose deaths related to opioids in the Mankato and the North Mankato area. That number has officials alarmed as what’s been found in these drugs. That’s why officials and advocates continue to work to raise awareness.

”We are finding that all the heroine that we are testing has fentanyl in it,” said Minnesota River Valley Task Force Commander Jeff Warsaw.

Warsaw says they also know that at least two of the recent area overdoses involved counterfeit oxy pills that contain fentanyl.

“We think there is a bad batch in town, that often does happen, we have heard from areas around the state that when they hear someone dies from these pills, they say to expect more and we think that this is what is happening here, said Warsaw. Everyone needs to be aware that if they have family members who have an opioid addiction, they need to not ignore them because all it takes is one pill,”.

The estimated lethal dose of fentanyl is about 2 milligrams.

Locally, recovery organization WeCovery recently launched the Southern Minnesota Harm Reduction Team in partnership with South Central and South East Minnesota EMS Systems and Beyond Brink.

That provides resources surrounding substance use including Narcan distribution, peer recovery support services, sharp takebacks, education, a safe place and more, with a 24/7 support number.

Southern Minnesota Harm Reduction. 24/7 Call or Text: 507-384-9060

“You can call or text that number 24 hours a day, meet with a certified peer recovery specialist and essentially that individual will meet that person wherever they are,” said WeCovery Executive Director Brandi Brink.

The response team serves 20 counties in South Central and South East Minnesota.

“For our community at large that are unfamiliar with what resources are available for their family member I think this can be a great way to start,” said Brink.

Officials also continue to urge to only take prescription medicine prescribed from a doctor to prevent taking laced pills.

However, as opioid addiction can sometimes sprout from becoming dependent on opioids for pain after being prescribed, health officials are raising awareness of alternatives.

Like at the Mankato Clinic Pain Management Center, which offers alternatives to opioids for pain relief.

“Chronic pain is very difficult to get 100% relief for the most part if you get 50, 80, 90 percent most patients are able to live on that. And that is really helpful because if you can get 80 percent relief so a patient can take one Oxycodone instead of eight Oxycodone, you are less likely to get addicted and less likely to get side effects,” said Dr. Ifechi Anyadioha M.D. of Pain Management Center at Mankato Clinic.

A treatment plan may include injections, implantable therapies, occupational or physical therapy, mental health services and non-opioid medications.

“In my experience with the testimonials from patients I treat here it’s been very eye-opening that we are doing the right thing, we are on the right path, what we are doing here is working for an overwhelming amount of patients,” said Dr. Anyadiohha.

Patients are advised to discuss options with their primary care provider.

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