Battling opioid addiction on the reservation

Minnesota's opioid epidemic is continuing to hit Native American communities especially hard.

American Indians have died of opioid overdoses at a rate that's almost five times higher than whites in the state.

Just last week, White Earth Nation reported eight opioid overdoses over just three days. All the victims survived, but authorities are warning that some heroin circulating on the reservation may be cut with other drugs that make it especially dangerous.

Bob Shimek, who leads the Red Lives Matter movement, which focuses on the heroin and meth epidemic American Indians face, joined All Things Considered to talk about the situation on the ground in White Earth.

He discussed why addiction to heroin or opioid painkillers is hitting Native American communities especially hard and what they're doing about it.

Shimek also talked about the story of Rita Rogers, a White Earth mom whose daughter Tiffany died of an overdose.

Use the audio player above to hear the entire conversation.

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