Rochester police issue drug warning after 4 overdoses in 72 hours, 1 fatal

Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 1:47 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:25 AM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – The Rochester Police Department (RPD) has seen an uptick in drug overdoses in the community, responding to four overdoses, one of them fatal, in less than 72 hours.

According to RPD, a 33-year-old man was found unresponsive at a drug treatment center in northwest Rochester on Thursday around 5:30 p.m. He received three doses of Narcan before officers arrived. He became responsive and refused medical transport to the hospital.

On Friday, officers responded to two separate overdoses.

A 22-year-old man was found unresponsive at a gas station in northwest Rochester around 10:30 p.m. Officers provided two doses of Narcan and the man became responsive and refused medical transport to the hospital.

Earlier that day around 10 a.m., a 24-year-old woman was found unresponsive at a drug treatment center in northwest Rochester. She became responsive after two doses of Narcan and was transported to St. Marys Hospital for care.

On Sunday, shortly after 6 a.m., officers responded to a residence in northwest Rochester where a 17-year-old boy was found unresponsive. Narcan was administered before officers arrived and officers administered an additional dose.

The teen was transported to St. Marys Hospital and later died. RPD is investigating and warns that drug sellers can be held responsible for overdose deaths.

According to Rochester Police Department’s investigations captain Casey Moilanen, the introduction of fentanyl laced drugs has been a game changer in the community.

“Cocaine, meth, marijuana, whatever it may be, often fentanyl is mixed in with those drugs and the person using those drugs has no idea how much fentanyl is in there,” Moilanen said.

Moilanen said this is happening across the nation, and almost every drug RPD comes across is laced with fentanyl.

RPD works to provide non-arrest pathways to treatment and recovery for individuals struggling with drug addiction.

“It provides for those who want to seek treatment and are in that process, it provides them a bed at two different facilities that we have in the facility immediately,” Moilanen said.

Information about the Police Assisted Recovery Program is available here.

RPD said there is no rhyme or reason as to when overdoses spike, but suspect it is due to a batch of lethal drugs entering the community.

Other addiction services across the area are also seeing an uptick in severe clients.

“We’ve had to change up our programs and our program expectations to meet a more intense level of care,” program director at Common Ground Tara Markus explained.

According to Markus, Common Ground is treating more clients that are addicted to fentanyl.

“People have no idea what they are getting into when they decide to use a drug or a substance,” Markus added.