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Minneapolis gets recommendations on opioid crisis

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A person holds a dose of naloxone, also known as brand name Narcan
A person holds a dose of naloxone, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses, at the homeless encampment near Hiawatha Ave. in south Minneapolis in October 2018. The drug, brand name Narcan, is passed out at the camp and many people living there carry it with them.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2018

A task force on addressing the opioid epidemic has presented Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey with about 50 wide-ranging recommendations for action on everything from law enforcement and treatment to education and community involvement.

They include creating a hospital-based emergency room intervention program for people with drug problems. Among others are hiring coaches to help recovering addicts; exploring the decriminalization of drug testing strips; and channeling people jailed for drug crimes into treatment programs.

Some of the recommendations have already been implemented. Frey promises action on others.

"I'm proud of these recommendations, and I said from the very beginning that these recommendations were not the kind that are just going to be sitting on my shelf," he said. "These are recommendations that will be used in the creation of policy. They will be used in the creation of a budget."

The mayor would not put a price tag on implementing the suggested actions.

Task force subcommittees explored prevention, treatment, recovery and other aspects of the opioid crisis.  

Early last year, Minneapolis trained and equipped every police officer with Narcan, a drug that blocks the effect of an opioid. The Minneapolis Fire Department has administered Narcan since 2016.