Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - President Donald Trump has declared the ongoing opioid addiction epidemic in the U.S. a public health crisis in a move that will free up federal resources to help battle the scourge.

While many other parts of the nation have been hit much harder by the spike in the number of Americans hooked on prescription painkillers and street drugs, Minnesota health and law enforcement agencies are also struggling to deal with the tragic consequences, including the shocking rise in the number of overdose deaths. Those consequences also include a new, and potentially, deadly risk faced by police officers and other emergency responders.

Rochester Police Chief Roger Peterson talked about those risks during his regular monthly appearance on KROC-AM's Rochester Today Show with James Rabe and Andy Brownell. In the YouTube video at the top of this post, Chief Peterson describes the dangers posed to officers and even their K9 partners by the growing use of an especially potent narcotic that was blamed for the accidental overdose that killed Prince last year.

According to the Minnesota News Network, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has implemented new policies that require an agent equipped with naloxone, better known as Narcan, be present anytime a BCA scientist handles drug samples in case of inadvertent contact with the substances. The BCA says most law enforcement agencies are now requiring officers to wear extra equipment at crime scenes where drugs are present and some have stopped field testing narcotics to reduce the risk of accidental exposure.

With updates at the top and bottom of the hour, listen to Newstalk 1340 KROC-AM for the latest local and national news.


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