It’s not just opioids: ‘Diseases of despair’ claim a growing number of Minnesotan lives

Minnesota Health Commissioner Dr. Ed Ehlinger says diseases of despair “…are brought on in part by a lack of hope, a lack of opportunity and a lack of paths out of poverty.” This month, the Minnesota Department of Health announced new data on drug overdose deaths. There were 637 such deaths in 2016, about five times the number of overdoses in 2000.

Those are alarming figures, and they have rightfully caught the attention of public health officials. But opioid-driven drug overdose deaths are not the only form of mortality on the rise in Minnesota.

“Minnesotans are suffering from what we’re calling […]