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Seven dead of suspected heroin overdoses in Minnesota

This news story was published on March 28, 2016.
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ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA — A sudden spike in suspected heroin-related deaths is cause for alarm, and speaks to a bigger problem across the state. The Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and Office of Justice Programs (OJP) are warning the public about the recent overdoses. Narcotics investigators believe heroin circulating now, which may be laced with other narcotics, is responsible for at least seven deaths and more than a dozen non-fatal overdoses over the past few weeks.

Law enforcement agencies are reporting suspected heroin overdoses in nearly a dozen north central Minnesota communities, including Hibbing, Virginia, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Cass Lake, Dillworth, Marble, Beltrami County and Mille Lacs County.

To further understand the scope of the problem, the BCA is working through its Minnesota Fusion Center to gather information from local law enforcement agencies about heroin overdoses and BCA narcotics agents are working with agencies to try to identify the source of these drugs.

“BCA narcotics agents and our partner agencies are treating these cases as homicides,” said BCA Special Agent in Charge Sue Burggraf. “When we find these drug dealers we intend to charge them with third degree murder.”

Heroin is a statewide problem

The problem in north central Minnesota can be echoed in every community across the state. Narcotics agents are reporting a significant jump in heroin seizures and sales all across Minnesota.

Statistics just released by OJP show Heroin seizures by the Violent Crime Enforcement Teams (VCETs) in 2015 reached 18 pounds, a 125 percent increase since 2011.

“Drugs are killing people across the state, causing a big burden in society for adults and especially youth,” said Brian Marquart, OJP statewide gang and drug coordinator. “We need to come together and report any drug activity so we can get the drugs out of the hands of dealers.”

“These tragic heroin overdoses are unfortunately part of a larger statewide opioid drug abuse problem that often begins with inappropriate use of prescription opioid pain relievers” said Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Edward Ehlinger. “Prevention of addiction and inappropriate use of opioids requires a public health approach that includes looking at how we manage pain and community level factors that influence individual behaviors. The Guidelines for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain announced by the CDC yesterday is a good example of an approach that can help us more effectively treat pain, promote health and reduce harms.”
Drug Seizures on the Rise
The VCETs, which are partially funded by OJP, continued to take drugs off the street at an alarming rate in 2015.

For the second straight year, VCET investigators seized a record amount of methamphetamine and marijuana concentrates continued to be seized at a record rate.

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17 Responses to Seven dead of suspected heroin overdoses in Minnesota

  1. Avatar

    Peter L Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    The drug war is the biggest human rights depriving fiasco since Hitler.

  2. Avatar

    Clear Lake Harely Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Only a deadbeat like Lagios would worry about a damn muffler and comment about it on a drug article. if you don’t like the Iowa muffler laws, then work to get them changed. What a loser I’d like to get him changed. Yes

  3. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2016 at 7:30 am

    I have heard they have the stuff in Mitchel County. It has not yet been found in Cerro Gordo, but it is coming.

    • Avatar

      anonymous Reply Report comment

      March 29, 2016 at 11:55 am

      You are wrong on this too. Heroin is in Cerro Gordo county and has been for decades.

  4. Avatar

    Katie Reply Report comment

    March 29, 2016 at 12:59 am

    I haven’t been able to figure out why dealers are cutting heroin with stronger drugs like fentanyl and killing off their customer base with these accidental overdoses.

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 28, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    This is a very dangerous drug. The Government should spend less time and resources fighting marijuana and more time and resources to fight this dangerous drug

    • Avatar

      LVS Reply Report comment

      March 29, 2016 at 7:31 am

      They should continue to fight all mind bending, illegal drugs and druggers.

      • Avatar

        Nada Racist Reply Report comment

        March 29, 2016 at 7:42 am

        Does this include the powerful opioid pain pills being pushed by big pharma and doctors? You know, the highly addictive ones given to our soldiers who come home from war with injuries? The ones that become very expensive once those veterans develop an addiction? The ones that cause those injured vets to turn to heroin to maintain their addiction when they can no longer acquire “legal” heroin?

        • Avatar

          LVS Reply Report comment

          March 29, 2016 at 8:16 am

          What part of the word “ILLEGAL” is so hard for you to understand? Is it past your first grade education? If you don’t like the laws get them changed. If you can’t get them changed it means you are in the minority and should shut the hell up.

          • Avatar


            March 29, 2016 at 8:49 am

            they are changing the laws on opiates pain pills but the doctors are fighting them. But talk about a simple mind LVS what difference does it make if your addicted to legal or illegal drugs. A legal addiction if prescribed by a doctor is worse because the doctor should have known the potential harm and the patients are trusting the doctor for their care. Then when patient gets cut off pain pills he turns to the illegal market. That’s why more studies on marijuana should be done as there has never been a overdose of pot reported.Prescription overdoses are at epidemic highs now. LVS you need to quit reading what goes on NORTH IOwa TODAY and expand your knowledge base.Illegal drugs is a social and medical issue. How many people do you need to lock up LVS to get the results you dream of in your fantasy world. Legal marijuana in colorado has lowered youths experimenting with it. I’m in the camp of legalizing all drugs so you can identify the user and get them help.

          • Avatar

            Check Your Facts

            March 29, 2016 at 8:57 am

            I don’t think you realize that almost TWICE the amount of people die every year from Prescription Analgesics (legal) overdoses than heroin (illegal). You have been brainwashed.

          • Avatar


            March 29, 2016 at 9:00 am

            You may think I have a simple mind, but at least I am not brain dead like you. You druggers are all the same. All you do is think about the high you will get and never about the damage it does to family’s and even to you. Look at the drug and alcohol bums riding their bikes and walking around town because they no longer can drive or get a job. They are a waste and people with attitudes like you are the reason they are that way.

          • Avatar

            Check Your Facts

            March 29, 2016 at 9:27 am

            You call me a drugger so you can discount the fact I present. You fight logic with some made up moral standard that you have been fed for decades. When in all actuality if you drug test the politicians that make the laws you hold so near and dear, you will be shocked at the results. Also, I don’t do drugs so feel free to hurl all kinds of insults about how I don’t use a proper name or how I have to be wrong because you are old or any other leap of logic. Then go take your meds (make sure you don’t let your grand kids near your drugs though).

          • Avatar

            Pete L

            March 29, 2016 at 10:14 am

            LVS/Brown Shirt #1: if you don’t like the Iowa muffler laws, then work to get them changed. Don’t ride around with illegally loud tailpipes as a lawbreaker. If you can’t, then you are a minority and should shut the hell up.

          • Avatar


            March 29, 2016 at 10:20 am

            @No Facts-If you don’t do “NO” drugs how did you become so BRAIN DEAD?

          • Avatar


            March 29, 2016 at 11:53 am

            He isn’t brain dead, he is correct. But, if he were brain dead, it probably came from listening to people like you ramble on and on without any facts or knowledge about drug abuse. Right now, in the United States, more people are addicted to prescription drugs than any other addictive drug, which by the way, does not include marijuana.

          • Avatar


            March 29, 2016 at 11:56 am

            LVS- You are such a hypocrite.