Drug overdose deaths up 27% in Minnesota in 2020

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Health officials say Minnesota saw a 27% increase in drug overdose deaths last year, with the first largest increase coinciding with the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 1,008 people died of drug overdoses in 2020. Drug-related deaths increased 64% in March 2020 compared with the previous year, then peaked at more than 100 fatalities in the months of May and August.

Dr. Ryan Kelly, at the University of Minnesota Medical School, says it became a “terrible storm” of lack of access to treatment medications and facilities and housing.