MPR News Special Report: Opioid abuse epidemic

Lexi Reed-Holtum
Lexi Reed Holtum paused near Steve Rummler's grave stone at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis, Minn. Friday, April 1, 2016. Holtum and Rummler were engaged when Rummler died from an overdose of heroin and other narcotics in 2011. Holtum now heads the Steve Rummler Hope Foundation, helping those with chronic pain and addiction.
Jeffrey Thompson for MPR News

Stories of the people affected by the opioid epidemic, and MPR News hosts Cathy Wurzer and Tom Crann interview Minnesota experts. One of the most staggering aspects of the epidemic is that, for many, drug abuse starts with legal painkillers. MPR reporter Jon Collins is the reporter and producer of this special report.

The special report includes Minnesota's Opioid Epidemic series interviews and profile stories that aired on All Things Considered and Morning Edition April 18-21.

Sen. Chris Eaton DFL-Brooklyn Center, proposing a bill that would allow pharmacists to directly prescribe naloxone without a doctor's standing order.

Carol Falkowski, epidemiology specialist on drug trends in Minnesota.

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Robert Shimek, a longtime community organizer at White Earth Nation and founder of Red Lives Matter.

Winona Strom, American Indian Patient Advocate at Hennepin County Medical Center.

The Jayhawks singer songwriter Gary Louris, on opioid addiction and recovery.

Joseph Lee, medical director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Youth Continuum.