Use of prescription opiates on rise in Minnesota

Published On: Dec 17 2012 05:36:43 AM CST   Updated On: Dec 17 2012 05:36:00 AM CST
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -

Prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone are being prescribed in Minnesota in greater numbers than ever before.

That's according to a joint investigation by the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Duluth News Tribune.

The newspapers' investigation found that legal distribution of all opioids increased statewide by 72 percent from 2005 to 2011.

The largest increases were in Ramsey County and the northwestern corner of the state. Last year, Duluth had the highest rate of opiate painkiller distribution in the state at more than 5,000 grams per 10,000 people.

Meanwhile, 24 out of every 10,000 Minnesotans between the ages 18 and 24 sought opiate addiction treatment last year. That's up 179 percent from four years earlier.