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Heroin Deaths and Overdoses on the Rise in Hennepin County | News

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Heroin Deaths and Overdoses on the Rise in Hennepin County
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Heroin is killing more and more people in the Twin Cities every year.

On Thursday, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and an emergency room physician from North Memorial Medical Center shared alarming data about deaths in Hennepin County.

In 2010 there were eight heroin-related deaths. That more than doubled in 2011 to 20 deaths. Last year, there were 37 heroin overdose deaths in Hennepin county. The number is on track to rise again this year.

In 2012, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office collected a record amount of heroin, twice what was collected in 2010.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek says heroin in the Twin Cities is some of the cheapest and purest, with concentrations as high 93.5 percent.

"That is a deadly combination for our young people out there. Easy to become addicted, and easy to obtain unfortunately," Stanek said.

Last year, about 100 people in the Metro died from heroin use and doctors say they are seeing more overdoses coming into the emergency room.

"Just about every hospital is seeing heroin overdoses. It's not an urban problem, it's statewide," said Dr. David Roberts, ER physician & toxicologist at North Memorial Medical Center.

Twenty-nine-year-old Amanda has recovered from her addictions, and now knows what is worth hanging on to. (Amanda chose not to share her last name).

"When I just need somebody to talk to, when I need help with anything, they've always been there for me," Amanda said while looking at a picture of her family.

Amanda is 9 months sober and in a recovery program at Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge. She struggled with prescription pills and harder drugs including heroin.

"The pills and the methadone, and the heroine, it all added up and put me in debt, and caused me to lie to friends and family, and hurt people I loved," Amanda said.

She distinctly remembers the first time she tried heroin at a drug dealer's home.

"She said, you should try heroin, it's a lot cheaper, and it's a lot stronger," Amanda said.

Afraid at first, Amanda decided to try.

"I let her shoot me up for the first time," Amanda said.

Now, just months away from finishing treatment, Amanda is already rebuilding what was lost.

"The relationship with my family is awesome, restoring that relationship, and yeah, life is good," Amanda said.

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