For the 10th consecutive year, opioid prescribing has decreased--but more Americans than ever are dying from drug-related overdoses. That's according to a report just out from the American Medical Association. "I think a lot of it's being driven especially by fentanyl and fentanyl analogs and methamphetamines and cocaine that are more obtained illicitly than through prescriptions." Minnesota Medical Association president-elect Randy Rice says Minnesota’s opioid prescription rate went down 6.5 percent from 2019 to 2020. And in the last decade, opioid prescribing decreased by 50.7 percent in Minnesota--but drug-related overdoses went up.
Representative Ilhan Omar joined several other lawmakers and some of the nation's leading environmental, climate, and social justice organizers today to call for the passage of the "Make Polluters Pay" bill. "The largest fossil fuel producers must pay for their past greenhouse gas emissions, which could raise at least $500 billion alone." The legislation would create a Polluters Pay Climate Fund and would assess the largest fossil fuel corporations based on their share of historical climate emissions.
Several groups around the state have teamed up with the National Weather Service to provide accurate weather safety information to as many people as possible. Eric Ahasic with the National Weather Service says the Weather Ready Nation program is seeing a huge jump in engagement. "We're actually over 11 thousand ambassadors now, nationwide. That involves businesses as large as fortune 500 companies, to as small as a local bakery. It is groups as large as the red cross, to groups as small as the local little league organization." Ahasic says partner organizations have the freedom to find their own creative ways [...]
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Salvation Army of Minnesota was serving record numbers of those needing assistance. Spokesman Dan Furry says while things have slowed down a bit -- requests are much more frequent than in past years: "We are still giving out lots of food more than we normally would. We are helping more people try and stay in their homes." Furry says there are around 58,000 Minnesota families behind in rent. The state's eviction protections are set to expire on October 12th.
Dr. Marilyn Peitso with the Minnesota Medical Association says news of Pfizer developing a safe and effective COVID vaccine for children is a cause for celebration--and caution. She says as the Delta Variant continues to spread... "1 in 5 new COVID infections are children, and as a pediatrician, I have seen first-hand that pediatric hospitalization and kids being in the ICU, we have never in the pandemic seen as many kids in the hospital or requiring ICU care as we are right now." Dr. Peitso says statistically it's more likely that a child isn't going to get as sick as an [...]
The summer of 2021 will go down in the record books as a warm and dry season. Assistant State Climatologist Pete Boulay: "Summer of 2021 was a warm and dry one. We had the second warmest summer back to 1895 for the whole state, just behind the number one spot in 1988 and it was also the 7th driest summer on record." The first official day of fall is TODAY.
The Minnesota DFL party says women's reproductive rights will be a major issue in upcoming elections. They say Republicans running for governor, like Senator Paul Gazelka, Dr. Scott Jensen and Senator Michele Benson have strong anti-choice, anti-abortion records. Democratic Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan: "I know while Governor Walz and I are in office, I can promise you, no attacks on reproductive freedom will ever become law in Minnesota." In announcing his bid for governor earlier this month Senator Gazelka said when it comes to his pro-life stance: "I think the ultimate thing that we need to do is convince people that [...]
CenterPoint Energy is reminding its customers about Minnesota’s Cold Weather Rule which goes into effect soon. "It protects Minnesotans who experience difficulty paying their heating bills by preventing disconnection of their natural gas service during the winter heating season." CenterPoint's Ross Corson says that under the Cold Weather Rule, customers are required to set up a payment plan with their utility to prevent disconnection of their service. The rule is in effect from October 1st through April 30th. For more information, contact your utility provider.
Severe weather events this month highlighted the need for accurate weather safety information in a timely manner. Eric Ahasic with the National Weather Service says that is where the Weather Ready Nation Ambassadors program comes in. "It is a way we can reach more people by having school districts, youth sports organizations, or local businesses, religious institutions. Things like that in every community to help us promote weather safety so we are just able to reach so many more people." Ahasic says their goal is to partner with as many people as possible. Any group, large or small, can sign up [...]
The recent spate of drug overdoses in St. Paul has health officials warning of the dangers of synthetic opioids. Lydia Burr is director of Clinical Services for Hazelden Betty Ford in St. Paul: "So synthetic opioids like fentanyl get cut into different chemicals and it's very difficult to know if a chemical that somebody is taking contains something like fentanyl before they take it." Burr says synthetic opioids are extremely potent and it's easy to overdose on a small amount.