Northfield’s heroin problem: four years later

Ann Etter and Dr. Kristine MatsonDr. Kristine Matson, MD paid a visit to my office (AKA the GBM) this morning and I twisted her arm into posing for a photo (assisted by Ann Etter) with a copy of last Saturday’s Northfield News.

She’s featured in a front page article of the paper, Physician’s study of Northfield heroin users offers glimpse into their world

For the first time, a study of local heroin addicts — all in treatment — takes a look inside their lives: When they began using drugs, how they got into heroin, who their influences were and why they decided to get treatment.

Northfield physician Kristine Matson conducted the study. And though the number of subjects was small, Matson believes there is much to be learned from her research.

Dr. Charles ReznikoffToday’s paper has a follow-up article, Heroin reaching new group of users, featuring Dr. Charles Reznikoff, Addiction Medicine Specialist, Opiate Agonist Therapy (OAT) Clinic at the Northfield Hospital.

The photo of him is from the Moravian Church town hall forum on heroin back in Nov. 2008.

Six months ago, Charles Reznikoff’s Northfield patients fell into two specific groups: Those in treatment for addiction to prescription pain medications and a cohort of 25- to 27-year olds and their siblings being treated for heroin abuse.

By the first of the year, Reznikoff was dealing with another cohort of patients: Teenage heroin addicts with no connection to what the opiate addiction specialist often refers to as the 84-85ers. It’s a change that troubles the physician who works part-time in the city’s Northfield Hospital clinic.

Background:

4 thoughts on “Northfield’s heroin problem: four years later”

  1. Dr. Charles Reznikoff was interviewed on MPR yesterday morning.

    Q&A: Addiction expert talks about the rise of heroin use in Minnesota

    Abuse of the street drug heroin is a growing concern for state health officials. The Minnesota Department of Human Services reports that treatment for heroin addiction has been on the rise for the last decade.

    The town of Northfield drew a lot of attention a few years ago when the former police chief said that hundreds of young people in that community were using heroin.

    The Northfield News is revisiting the issue with a series of stories. One of the people featured in that coverage is Dr. Charlie Reznikoff. He works at Northfield Hospital and Hennepin County Medical Center as an addiction specialist.

    MPR’s Cathy Wurzer spoke with Dr. Reznikoff about what’s causing the drug to show up in Northfield and across the state.

  2. Today’s Nfld News: Heroin caused death of two Northfielders

    The deaths are the eighth and ninth in northern Rice County attributed to an overdose of opiates since January 2006.
    Northfield Deputy Police Chief Chuck Walerius said that while the investigations into who supplied the heroin to both men is continuing, investigations such as these can take time and often take detectives in any number of directions simultaneously.

  3. Nfld News: Leaders of the county’s war on drugs look at unconventional approaches

    In Rice County, [Judge Thomas] Neuville says, serious drug offenses fall generally into two groups: Methamphetamine more often found in the southern part of the county and heroin in the Northfield area…

    “Northfield has to admit there’s a problem,” he said. “They have to stand up and start talking about it, create an environment where it’s OK to report (drug use) and it’s OK to intervene. If nothing else, (addicts) will know they’re on somebody’s list and somebody is watching them. “And if somebody reports it, it’s because somebody doesn’t want them to die.”

    The school district, he says, should allow drug sniffing dogs on campus more frequently. The dogs have been used three times in the last four years. “The message we should send to our kids is ‘while we trust you, we want to make sure our school is drug-free.’”

    And to those who worry about tarnishing the city’s reputation, Neuville says this: “I don’t care about Northfield’s reputation. I care about the kids who are dying and those who might die.”

  4. I like this guy. He’s right on the nose. Northfields reputaion doesn’t mean a thing if our kids are ruining their future, and dying.We must shift focus to this problem now, at least as much attention should be given it year round as is given saving old buildings and DJJD. At least as many people should be involved in supporting the recovering addict in their quest for a new life.

    If not, our “reputation” is already in the toilet (with The One who’ll decide our eternity).

Leave a Reply