An Epidemic


Addressing an epidemic: locally and nationally

An epidemic has unfolded, locally and nationally, that’s costing lives and impacting the safety of communities. Opioid addiction increases crime, accidental death and the transmission of communicable and infectious disease like Hepatitis C and HIV. It’s why ClearPath Clinic was created to provide what amounts to life-saving medicine for people suffering from opiate abuse.


  • 45% increase in admission for opioid treatment (for heroin or prescription pills) in St. Louis and Carlton Co. between 2010 and 2013
  • 756 admissions by St. Louis County residents (863 in Ramsey Co.) for primary opioid addiction in 2013
  • Opioid admission rate/1000 population: 6.33 for Carlton County, 4.93 for St. Louis County, compared to 1.4/1000 for Ramsey County!
  • Frequent and highly publicized accidental opioid overdose deaths in our region
  • Over 500 registered users of the Rural Aids Action Network Syringe Exchange program in Duluth
  • Duluth has an HIV infection rate higher than the Twin Cities metro area.
  • The prevalence of Hepatitis C in Duluth is three times as high as the rest of the state.
  • The increased rates of HIV and Hepatitis C pose serious health and safety risks for this region. (RAAN, 2013).


  • More opiate use. Since 1999, the amount of prescription painkillers prescribed and sold in the U.S. has nearly quadrupled. In 2013, nearly two million Americans abused prescription painkillers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • More heroin use. Between 2002 and 2012, the number of people who reported using heroin within the previous year increased by 265,000.
  • More deaths. Each day, 44 people in the United States die from overdose of prescription painkillers. Heroin-related overdose deaths increased 39 percent between 2012 and 2013, surging to 8,257, according to the CDC.
  • More hospital visits: the total number of drug-related Emergency Department (ED) visits increased 81 percent from 2004 (2.5 million) to 2009 (4.6 million). ED visits involving nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals increased 98.4 percent over the same period, from 627,291 visits to 1,244,679. The largest pharmaceutical increases were observed for oxycodone products (242.2 percent increase). – National Institute on Drug Abuse

Children at high risk

  • 9 of 10 people with addiction started using substances before age 18.
    –Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse at Columbia University
  • Nearly half of all young people who inject heroin report abusing prescription pain killers before starting to use heroin.
    –National Institute of Drug and Alcohol