Press Release: Sheriff’s Office helping prevent future opioid abuse during National Night Out

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hennepin county sherriffs office

Press Release


Media Contact: Jon Collins, 612-919-5918

Sheriff’s Office helping prevent future opioid abuse during National Night Out

August 6, 2018 (MINNEAPOLIS) – The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with police departments throughout the county, will be handing out tens of thousands of medication disposal pouches during “National Night Out” (also referred to as “Night to Unite”).

This joint initiative marks another major milestone in the countywide fight against opioid abuse and addiction, and the surrounding public safety and public health crisis. Providing increased medication disposal options has been a key component in the Sheriff’s Office #NOverdose campaign.

“This year, in addition to building community relations, we will be able to educate thousands of residents about the dangers of opioid abuse while providing them with a safe and convenient way to dispose of their unwanted and unused medications,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “We are fighting opioid abuse and overdose on multiple levels, including medication disposal.”

The Sheriff’s Office will have nearly 50 vehicles, 30 teams, and about 85 people attending several hundred parties across this county, handing out medication disposal pouches at each one. Residents can also pick-up pouches for their “National Night Out” or “Night to Unite” neighborhood party at the Sheriff’s Office Enforcement Services Headquarters at 9401 83rd Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445.

The medication disposal pouches were donated to the Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation by the Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) as part of RALI's mission to support local organizations' programs that encourage proper drug disposal. RALI is an alliance of national, state and local organizations working in Minnesota and other states to find solutions to the nation's opioid crisis.

“It’s critically important that we safely dispose of old or unused prescriptions to help lower the risk of addiction in our communities,” said Linda Carroll-Shern, Deputy Vice President of PhRMA, a national partner of RALI. “We commend the Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation for their commitment to educating residents about the simple and effective options for properly disposing of unused medicines. We hope residents will take this opportunity to learn more and become a key part of the solution.”

County statistics show that during 2017, Hennepin County experienced 175 opioid-related deaths. This marked a new record high for the county, surpassing 2016’s 153 opioid-related deaths—resulting in a more than 65 percent increase since 2015. Through the first half of 2018, however, the numbers appear to be showing improvement- the average opioid-related death rate has fallen from 14.62 to 11.8 per month.

According to 2016 data from the National Center for Health Statistics, drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.


2016 was a record year for opioid-related deaths in Hennepin County with 153 opioid-related deaths, a 39 percent increase over 2015. Due to the record number of opioid-related deaths during 2016 in Hennepin County, the Sheriff’s Office launched a drug abuse prevention campaign called #NOverdose. As part of the campaign, the Sheriff’s Office has partnered with school-parent organizations, law enforcement agencies, elected officials, businesses, and health & community organizations to assist educating the community about current drug dangers, trends and prevention.



Look for more news on the Hennepin County Sheriff's website at