"Our two part goal is to save lives, and prevent harm."
That was Minnesota governor Mark Dayton last week calling for more action to stop opioid addiction, which he calls a crisis across the state.
The Governor's new opioid action plan would invest $12 million each year in strategies to address opioid abuse.
In 2016, nearly 400 people died from opioid overdoses in Minnesota. That includes nearly 3 dozen overdose deaths in St. Louis County. Only Ramsey and Hennepin counties in the Twin Cities saw more. Governor Dayton says his proposal would bring some much needed relief to those hardest-hit counties.
St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin says the governor's plan to address crisis areas is much needed.
"I'm encouraged," says Rubin, "I'm glad to see the leadership, and it's what we need in this state."
The $12 million dollars is divided into 4 key areas: Prevention, Emergency Response, Law Enforcement, and Treatment and Recovery Options.
"What we need desperately in our area is money for treatment beds, money to help with drug court, because the county is picking up the cost of the state drug court," says Rubin. "The state should be stepping up and doing that, so I'm really glad to see that in the governors proposal."
The funding would also provide additional dollars for the Lake Superior Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force, as well as purchasing Narcan, which is used to stop opioid overdoses.
It's also an expensive plan, and the only guarantee right now is an uphill battle at the capitol to pass anything like it.
On this episode of Beyond the Headlines Dan Wolfe sits down with Lt. Jeff Kazel, of the Lake Superior Drugs and Violent Crimes Task Force, to talk about how Gov. Dayton's proposal could bring a needed boost to law enforcement in St. Louis County.
Wolfe also sits down with Assistant St. Louis Co. Attorney Nick Campanario to talk about the latest in ongoing efforts to bring a lawsuit against the companies responsible for opioids.
In a unanimous vote last month, the St. Louis County Board has agreed to hold drug manufacturers and distributors accountable for their role in the opioid crisis. The goal is to recover some of the taxpayer costs that have come with fighting this deadly epidemic.
With this decision St. Louis County joins hundreds of cities and counties across the country filing similar lawsuits. Douglas County Wisconsin recently joined a similar lawsuit targeting pharmaceutical companies.