'Know The Truth' Shows Parents, Kids Harsh Realities Of Addiction

By Victoria Kim 10/25/17

Participants will be able to do a "virtual visit to an addict serving time" and hear from guest speakers in recovery.

students in a classroom

Minnesota isn’t often included in the national conversation about substance abuse and the addiction crisis—but the state is contending with its own drug problem which has “alarmed” public safety officials.

According to a March 2017 blog post by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, illicit prescription drug seizures rose 231% from 2015 to 2016. Meth also has a large presence there—meth seizures increased 484% from 83 pounds in 2009 to 488 pounds in 2016. 

Rising drug seizures have coincided with rising overdoses. According to state officials, Minnesota saw more than 2,700 opioid-related deaths in the last 15 years, with more than 80% of these deaths involving prescription drugs. 

Last year, the state recorded just over 2,000 non-fatal opioid overdoses and 376 opioid-related deaths.

Minnesota officials say it’s a dire problem that they’re hoping to address through the “Know the Truth” initiative.

The Pioneer Press reported that the prevention program, developed by the Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge, a recovery organization that helps young people overcome addiction through faith-based programs, will be hosting a series of community forums in November in Dakota County geared toward parents and adolescents who want to learn about teen drug use and prevention.

The events will feature guest speakers in recovery, a “virtual visit to an addict serving time,” and resources for parents who want to learn the “signs” of drug use and more.

Know the Truth began in nearby Anoka County in 2014, in response to a spate of heroin-related overdoses that authorities attributed to a batch of “alarmingly” potent and easily accessible heroin.

The first community forums were held to educate the public about the dangers of opioid misuse. Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo reported at the time that more than 700 people attended the forums.

Since then, Know the Truth has visited about 160 schools every year, reaching 60,000 Minnesota students. 

“This is not a rural issue or an urban issue,” reads the blog post from the Department of Public Safety. “There’s no stereotype of a typical drug user. The people affected by this alarming trend are our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones.”

One thing parents can do to deter their kids from misusing opioids is to secure their prescription medications at home, or safely dispose of them at local prescription drug take-back events. The next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day falls on October 28.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr