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Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office

“Commitment to Service with Integrity and Pride”

For Immediate Release
Contact: David Unze, Communications Media Specialist - (763) 765-3773

October 25, 2017


In the last 10 days, Sherburne County deputies have used NARCAN four separate times to revive people
who overdosed on suspected opioids. That’s nearly as many NARCAN saves as the department had for
the entire year before, according to Sheriff Joel Brott.

The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office and the Sherburne County Substance Use Prevention (SUP)
Coalition are supporting the statewide Dose of Reality public awareness campaign, which seeks to
provide education about this growing health epidemic.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported a 12 percent increase in opioid-related deaths between
2015 and 2016. Prescription painkillers accounted for nearly half of the opioid-related deaths in
Minnesota during 2016.

Heroin use continues to increase, and about 80 percent of heroin users began their opioid use with
prescription painkillers.

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. The Sherburne County Government Center will be
open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for people who want to drop off unused and/or unwanted
prescription medication.

Doors B and D will open at 10 a.m. Enter and follow the signs.

Police department offices in Big Lake and Becker also will be open Saturday during the same time period
to accept unwanted prescription drugs. Big Lake police also carry NARCAN, and officers have used
NARCAN three additional times to save people who have overdosed.

“We’re seeing these overdoses too frequently in our communities, and the root of the problem starts
with access to prescription painkillers,” said Big Lake Police Chief Joel Scharf. “Get rid of what you no
longer need before it falls into the wrong hands.”

SHERIFF’S OFFICE Office: (763) 765-3500
COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER Toll-Free: (800) 433-5245
13880 Business Center Drive Fax: (763) 441-7303
Elk River, MN 55330-1692 Email:
Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office PRESS RELEASE

Sherburne County deputies have used NARCAN nine times to revive people who have overdosed since
they began carrying it in September 2016. Sherburne County has had five overdose deaths since January
2016 in which opiates were the main cause or a contributing cause of death.

The number of opiate-related overdoses has grown exponentially over the last year, and the Sherburne
County Drug Task Force has seen firsthand the increase of individuals using heroin and fentanyl, said Sgt.
Luke McLean, supervisor of the drug task force.

“We urge friends and family members who have run out of alternatives with their loved ones to contact
the Sherburne County Drug Task Force,” McLean said. “A call to law enforcement may not only save
their loved ones but the lives of others impacted by the opiate epidemic.”

Sherburne County received and destroyed 420 pounds of prescription drugs in 2015, 1,780 pounds in
2016 and 580 pounds through June of this year.

The Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office and SUP Coalition are planning to hold public meetings early next
year to educate the public about the dangers of opioid misuse, the signs that someone you love might
be abusing prescription medications or illicit drugs and what you can do to help.

“This is becoming a public health crisis,” said Brott. “The use of opioids and dangerous drugs such as
heroin and fentanyl is taking lives at an alarming rate. We need everyone to get on board to help
combat this epidemic.”

The county SUP has been bringing together community partners to promote safe and healthy choices
and prevent substance abuse.

“Opioid overdoses are preventable, and preventing inappropriate use of opioids requires a collaborative
approach from our community,” said Alicia Klepsa, SUP coalition coordinator. “Talk early and often with
your loved ones about the proper use, storage, and disposal of prescription drugs. It is important that
we provide accurate facts to support healthy decision-making about any drug use.”

Find more information and resources on Sherburne County SUP Coalition website, go to

For more information about the statewide Dose of Reality campaign, including a link to an interactive
map where you can find the prescription drug drop box closest to you, go to

** Attached are photos of Naloxone, known by the brand name NARCAN, and of the prescription drug
drop box in the lobby of the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office. **

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