The Minnesota Department of Health recently launched a new podcast series, "Stories from the Field," aimed at addressing the evolving opioid epidemic.

The goals are to provide a voice to those who have experienced substance use disorder, offer resources to those helping people who use drugs make safer choices, and to illustrate the complexities of the epidemic, according to the health department. The podcast hosts a series of experts in the health care field, as well as community leaders and others devoted to reducing the number of Minnesotans affected by this crisis.

The opioid crisis continued to escalate in 2020, with 373 overdose deaths reported in the first six months of the year. That’s compared to all of 2019, where a total of 428 total Minnesotans died from an opioid overdose.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the impacts of every overdose, fatal or non-fatal, are far-reaching and avoidable.

“We know that every death by overdose is a preventable death,” said Malcolm in a news release. “We need to set our sights on providing support and resources to all Minnesotans who are affected by opioid use disorder, and all communities where substance use leads to personal, family, and community suffering.”

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The "Stories from the Field" podcast series tells real stories from real people throughout the state and are just one tool in MDH’s opioid overdose prevention work. The series reveals the raw emotions of people who have battled substance misuse, lost loved ones, and managed to get through it.

The diverse group of guests represent communities of color, tribal communities, the LGBTQ population, and a variety of economic backgrounds. Community advocates, medical professionals and other front-line prevention specialists discuss the problem, efforts to destigmatize substance use, and possible solutions. They all agree that recovery is possible.

“Podcasts are just one way the Injury and Violence Prevention section at MDH engages with our communities to address the emerging opioid crisis,” said Dana Farley, injury and violence prevention supervisor. “By featuring the work being done throughout the state, we hope to leave listeners with a sense of hope and that help is available.”

To listen to the podcast series, visit Opioids: Prevention, Treatment and Community-Driven Efforts on the MDH website,

For more information and other resources, visit MDH’s Opioid Overdose Prevention page. For downloadable graphs and statistics on opioid use in Minnesota since 2000, visit the MDH Drug Overdose Dashboard.