Heroin use up, cocaine cases down, says reportUse of heroin and other opiates continued a significant upward trend in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in 2009, according to the latest Drug Trends Report for 2009 released by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Use of heroin and other opiates continued a significant upward trend in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in 2009, according to the latest Drug Trends Report for 2009 released by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Among the findings in the report:
Treatment admissions for heroin and other opiates more than doubled since 2002 and increased by 35.7 percent from 2008 to 2009.
Opiates other than heroin, primarily prescription narcotics taken orally, accounted for 8.3 percent of total treatment admissions in 2009, compared with only 1.4 percent in 2000.
A record-high number of 1,722 patients reported other opiates as the primary substance problem in 2009, a four-fold increase since 2002.
Arrests and seizures of Mexican heroin increased in the Twin Cities and throughout the state.
“In the Twin Cities and other parts of Minnesota, the abuse of heroin and prescription drugs is a problem of growing magnitude and concern,” said Carol Falkowski, director of the DHS Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division and author of the report. “The use of heroin and other strong narcotics, taken non-medically, even in pill form, is a dangerous practice that can be addictive and even fatal.”
At the same time, cocaine-related admissions to addiction treatment programs fell markedly in 2009 and accounted for only 6.4 percent of total addiction treatment admissions, compared with 9.9 percent in 2008. The actual number of cocaine-related admissions fell 58.4 percent from 2005 to 2009. In Hennepin County, cocaine-related deaths fell sharply, from 59 in 2007 to 21 in 2008 and 10 in 2009.
Likewise, methamphetamine-related indicators continued to decline in 2009, following significant increases from 2000 through 2005.
In 2009, 5.7 percent of admissions to Twin Cities area addiction treatment programs were for methamphetamine, compared with 12 percent in 2005.
Marijuana continued to account for more admissions to addiction treatment programs than any other illicit drug, with 3,744 admissions in 2009 or 18.1 percent of total addiction treatment admissions.
Concerning other drugs, the report found:
For the first time, the abuse of “K2” was reported by local youth. “K2” is the name of an unregulated, legal, herbal mixture sold in “head shops” as a smokable, mood-altering substance with effects similar to marijuana. In May 2010, several high school students in a northern suburb reported adverse effects due to inhalation of K2. One student experienced seizures from the incident, according to a local news report.
Salvia divinorum, which is a plant, and salvinorin-A produce short-acting hallucinogenic effects when chewed, smoked or brewed in tea. These are most often used by adolescents and young adults. Under a Minnesota law effective August 1, the sale or possession of these in Minnesota will be a gross misdemeanor.
The report is prepared twice annually as part of an epidemiological drug abuse-monitoring network comprised of drug abuse researchers in 20 U.S. cities convened by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Falkowski has written reports on Twin Cities drug abuse trends since 1986.