Law enforcement urges parents and schools to prioritize pill warnings after increase in drug overdoses – WCCO

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Just one pill can kill. That’s the law enforcement warning after at least six fatal overdoses this month involving fake prescription pills.

Three years ago, investigators pulled 1,500 counterfeit pills from the streets of Minnesota. It has climbed to 7,400 this year, so far.

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Nikky Tierney started taking pain relievers as a high school student in Hudson, believing it to be a safer way to use drugs.

“It’s just an easy thing to put in your mouth and not think about,” Tierney said.

Sadly, addiction claimed the lives of four of his friends over the next 10 years.

“I just assumed they wouldn’t give me something that would kill me and they absolutely aren’t,” Tierney said.

She now works in a sober high school showing others a way out.

Angela Von Trytek is the Deputy Special Agent in charge of the DEA in Minneapolis, St. Paul District Office.

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“I really believe the conversation needs to start at home and then it needs to be reinforced at school,” Von Trytek said.

She was transferred to the district over a year ago from Florida.

“Frankly, I was shocked at the number of drugs and the amounts that we are seizing in Minnesota,” Von Trytek said.

Police in Mankato and St. Paul issued warnings this month after an increase in overdose deaths was linked to counterfeit pills.

The differences are hard to spot: Although this oxycodone is real, the front and back of the fakes look the same with life-threatening consequences.

“When it’s made illegally in Mexico, there’s no quality control with these transnational criminal organizations,” Von Trytek said. “I think we consider that one in four pill we grab contains a lethal dose of fentanyl.”

The Department of Health is also reporting an almost 20% spike in non-fatal overdoses during the pandemic. More than 7,000 people have been treated in the emergency room for an overdose. Almost 60% were related to opioids and other stimulants.

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To learn more about starting the conversation in your classroom, Click here.


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