Minn. (FOX 47) -- The state is looking to save lives and save taxpayers money by releasing its first statewide plan to prevent substance abuse. It was developed with the help of several state departments and the plan calls for continue collaborative efforts.
A 2011 report from the Minnesota Department of Health showed that the impact of alcohol use alone costs the state $5 billion a year.
The plan calls for long-term action as well that doesn't stop with prevention but carries through to treatment and recovery. Some recommendations include screening services in all health care settings and expanded development of recovery centers.
The strategy also calls for increased coordination among law enforcement to fight the production and sale of illegal drugs. Drug task forces across the state made more than 3,500 arrests for narcotics violations in 2011. Ninety-two percent of those were at a felony-level.
Another problem identified by the plan is the rapid growth of prescription opiate and heroin abuse. To curb this, the plan suggests calling on more prescribers and pharmacists to take part in the Prescription Monitoring Program.
The strategy will be discussed at community meetings in Duluth on Nov. 9 and Rochester on Nov. 14.
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