The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is alerting the community about the dangers of K2, an illegal synthetic drug that is believed to be the cause of more than 50 non-fatal overdoses in the County.
K2, also known as “spice”, is a synthetic marijuana designed to mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), an ingredient in naturally grown marijuana plants. Users of synthetic marijuana report effects such as extreme anxiety, paranoia, and hallucination. Recent overdose victims have often been in an agitated state.
“Fortunately we have not experienced any deaths due to this recent series of K2 overdoses. The quick actions of first responders and proper medical care at area hospitals has no doubt played a role making sure these victims are ok,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “Last year we experienced 153 opioid-related deaths in the county, so it is pretty frightening when you think about more than 50 overdoses occurring in less than 2 weeks.”
Synthetic cannabinoids have been illegal in Minnesota since 2014 and are considered a Schedule 1 Narcotic by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. According to State law, possession of more than 42.5 grams of a synthetic cannabinoid is considered intent to sell and is a felony. Possession of less than 42.5 grams of a synthetic cannabinoid is a misdemeanor.
Several local and federal law enforcement agencies are investigating the recent overdoses in Hennepin County.
August 24, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) – The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with the Ramsey, Carver, and Dakota County Sheriff’s Offices, will be educating fairgoers about drug abuse and prevention at the #NOverdose booth beginning today, and continuing through the end of the Minnesota State Fair.
The #NOverdose booth will provide information about medicine disposal and the dangers of prescription drug abuse. Statewide information about medication collection locations will be available at the booth, and there will be a squad car available for tours and photos.
2016 was a record year for opioid-related deaths in Hennepin County with 153 opioid-related deaths, a 39 percent increase over 2015. During January through June of 2017 there were 73 opioid-related deaths, an 11 percent increase from the same time last year.
Due to the record number of opioid-related deaths in 2016 in Hennepin County, the Sheriff’s Office launched a drug abuse prevention campaign called #NOverdose. As part of this campaign, the Sheriff’s Office is partnering with area schools, law enforcement agencies, elected officials, businesses, and health & community organizations to educate parents and youth about current drug dangers and trends.
“If Hennepin County experienced 73 homicides during the first half of the year people would be demanding more be done to reduce the number of deaths,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “The State Fair provides us with an opportunity to educate tens-of-thousands of community members about dangers of drug abuse, what they can do to help prevent future abuse, and what law enforcement is doing to fight this deadly epidemic.”
The Sheriff’s Office reached a milestone recently in its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic as it surpassed 100,000 pounds (50 tons) of household medication collected in Hennepin County since the program began in 2012.
Sheriff Stanek, in collaboration with the Hennepin County Environment and Energy Department, started the medication collection program in February 2012 when the first collection boxes were made available at Sheriff’s Office locations in Spring Park, Brooklyn Park and downtown Minneapolis. During the past five years, the number of collection sites has grown to 11 boxes throughout the county, with several local police departments introducing boxes in their lobbies.
Seventy percent of prescription drug abusers say that they obtained their supply of prescription medications from friends and family. Properly disposing of prescription medication, such as opioids, can significantly decrease the likelihood of individuals having access to these highly addictive drugs.
Last year, a change in State law allowed Minnesota pharmacies to provide medication disposal options for residents and customers. Since then, pharmacies have added several collection locations in the area.
Properly disposing of unused medication is not only important to prevent drug abuse and poisoning, but also to protect the environment.
“Medicines flushed down the drain or disposed of in the trash can have harmful consequences for the environment. Using a medicine drop box is an easy and convenient way to safely dispose of your unwanted medicines while helping to protect our water quality,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Jan Callison. “As the County continues to integrate services into local communities, this is another example of how we can improve resident accessibility while also making a real impact on public safety.”
The medication that is collected by the Sheriff’s Office is destroyed by incineration, a method that has been found to be the most environmentally friendly while also rendering the drugs inert.
To learn more about the Hennepin County medication disposal program, click here.
Earlier this week, two dozen area youth from the Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities participated in the Sheriff’s Office annual Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs event. The event pairs teen-aged youth with deputies, volunteer Special Deputies and youth Explorers for a morning of fishing, drug prevention education and lots of fun.
The goal of the event is to teach kids about the dangers of drugs while also providing them with a fun activity they can do with friends. It is one of several educational events the Sheriff’s Office has hosted as part of the #NOverdose drug prevention campaign.
The event is made possible by generous donations from the Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation and other area businesses that donate pontoon boats, equipment and lunch.
June 30, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) – The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is urging everyone to stay safe while enjoying water-related recreation such as boating or swimming during the 4th of July weekend.
Individuals and families should plan ahead before enjoying a lake or swimming pool. A water safety plan should include properly fitting life jackets, necessary safety equipment, and a sober operator if using a boat.
“We want everyone to have fun and stay safe during the holiday weekend, but it is a team effort that involves all who are enjoying our lakes and rivers,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “Due to increased boating traffic, it is important to be aware of your surroundings so that everyone is able to have a fun and safe weekend.”
The Sheriff’s Water Patrol Unit will have additional patrols between Friday, June 30 and Wednesday, July 5, 2017. Deputies and volunteer Special Deputies will be available to assist boaters who find themselves in distress or have questions about area water regulations, they will also actively be patrolling for boaters who are intoxicated.
Life jackets are required to be worn by children less than 10 years old when on a boat. Boats must also have an accessible life jacket for each person on a boat, and at least one throwable device. Personal watercraft operators and passengers, no matter the age, must wear a life jacket.
On Lake Minnetonka, there are free life jackets available that boaters may borrow for the day. The Kids Don’t Float program is a partnership between the Sheriff’s Office, Safe Kids Northwest Metro Minneapolis and North Memorial Medical Center. The life jackets are found inside storage containers located at three public boat launch locations: Gray’s Bay, Spring Park Bay, and Maxwell Bay.
Safety reminders for boaters
Boaters should slow down and make an extra effort to act in a courteous manner on crowded lakes and rivers. Designate a sober boat operator prior to your day of boating. It is highly recommended that all passengers wear life jackets during boating. Be aware of the danger of a boat propeller. People in the water, who are re-entering the boat, have been injured by props.
Safety reminders for swimmers
WATCH – your kids
Parents must use active supervision when children are in – or near – the water. In 70 percent of cases where young children drowned, one or both parents were nearby. Being nearby isn’t enough. Parents must focus on kids and avoid distractions such as using cell phones or talking with other adults.
Parent supervision is needed even when lifeguards are on duty.
WEAR – a life jacket
Weak swimmers or non-swimmers should wear life jackets in the water – including swimming pools. Adult supervision is needed even when using a life jacket. Do not rely on water wings or other inflatable devices.
LEARN – to swim & learn about water safety
Teach your kids to swim. Adults must know how to swim too. Keep safety equipment near pools, such as a shepherd’s hook. If attempting a rescue, hand something to the struggling person or pull them to safety with the hook. Use safety precautions with backyard kiddie pools. (One child drowns every five days in portable pools.) Learn CPR and learn more about water safety.
June 29, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) – Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek was sworn in as 2nd Vice President of the National Sheriffs’ Association during the annual conference in Reno, NV. Sheriff Stanek has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2013.
Members of the Major County Sheriffs’ of America also held their annual summer meeting and elections in Reno. Sheriff Stanek was re-elected to Vice President of Homeland Security.
“I am honored to represent the Sheriffs of Minnesota and the entire country in both organizations. Ensuring that Sheriffs around the nation have a voice in the national public safety conversation is vital to the success of law enforcement as we continue to adapt to changing needs for service,” said Sheriff Rich Stanek. “Working alongside accomplished law enforcement professionals from around the country allows me to share our best practices and policy objectives while bringing back new ideas that will enhance the services we provide the residents of Hennepin County.”
During the conference, Sheriffs met to train on and discuss strategies for responding to the opioid crisis, jail mental health, and immigration.
Sheriff Stanek spoke with Sheriffs and their staff about several topics in which he has been a national leader. Topics ranging from jail mental health reform, including the Sheriff’s Office One-Day Snapshot Study that looked at the percentage of inmates who suffer from mental illness, the Sheriff’s Office serving as one of 15 test sites for the President’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing, and FirstNet, a nationwide broadband network for public safety.
The NSA conference was hosted this year by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and took place from June 23 to 28, 2017.
What: The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is dubbing Wednesday, June 14, 2017 “Opioid Prevention Day”. The agency will be involved in multiple events throughout the day with a focus on getting deadly opioids off the streets and saving lives.
Two events will take place on Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Event 1: #NOverdose Warrant Sweep
When:Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 7:00 a.m. (Roll Call)
Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker
More: Media is invited to attend roll call where Sheriff Stanek and Dr. Baker will address deputies and police officers who are participating in the countywide warrant sweep that is focused on drug-related warrants.
Sheriff Stanek and Dr. Baker will be available for media interviews after addressing the participating law enforcement officers. Sheriff Stanek will be available for early morning live and/or taped interviews prior to roll call (must confirm with Jon Collins by 3 p.m.on Tuesday).
Members of the media are invited to “ride along” with law enforcement officers during warrant sweep
Details: Media will have the opportunity to follow deputies and police officers during the warrant sweep. Media will use their own vehicles to follow squad cars to various warrant locations. Media must RSVP and agree to safety guidelines. Space is limited, access will be granted in order of RSVP’s.
Media must RSVP for the “ride along” by contacting Jon Collins at 612-919-5918 or Jon.Collins@hennepin.us by Tuesday, June 13 at 3 p.m.
More: Walgreens will formally announce their medicine disposal program, that allows individuals to safely dispose of unwanted medications at no cost, for several Minnesota locations. Media will have an opportunity to film the new disposal kiosks.
Last year, a change in State law allowed pharmacies to provide medication disposal options for residents and customers.
The Sheriff’s Office has collected and destroyed almost 100,000 lbs of unwanted medication since 2012 when the disposal program began.
June 12, 2017 (MINNEAPOLIS) – The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is urging individuals with active warrants to surrender to authorities regardless of the offense. On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the Sheriff’s Office and 18 other law enforcement agencies throughout Hennepin County will begin conducting a warrant sweep to clear active warrants and make arrests.
“This year’s warrant sweep is focused on drug-related warrants due to the record number of opioid-related deaths last year. By clearing these warrants, we expect to save lives,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek. “No matter what your warrant is for, ignoring it will not make it go away. Our deputies and law enforcement partners are great at tracking down individuals with outstanding warrants and bringing them to justice for the crimes they have committed.”
Last year, there was 153 opioid-related deaths in Hennepin County, a 39 percent increase from 2014. In response the Sheriff’s Office launched #NOverdose, a drug prevention campaign. The Sheriff’s Office is aggressively investigating drug-related deaths as homicides.
Other types of felony and gross misdemeanor warrants will also be pursued. Individuals should determine if they are wanted on an active warrant, and satisfy the warrant regardless of the offense.
There are advantages to a voluntary surrender – by doing so, a wanted person will avoid being arrested by deputies at their home or workplace. A wanted person may surrender to the Sheriff’s Office or their local police department.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies actively pursue and arrest individuals with warrants daily. A warrant sweep is one more method used to pursue individuals with active warrants.
To determine if you have an active warrant:
Visit the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Central Records Unit at the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility, also known as the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Jail. It’s located at 401 South 4th Avenue, Minneapolis, MN.
The Central Records Unit office and the PSF are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Bring a photo ID. You may call Central Records to see if you have a warrant for your arrest at 612-348-2000. A warrant number and/or case number will be required to check for warrants. You may not access information by phone when providing a name only.
To voluntarily turn yourself in:
Individuals may turn themselves in to local law enforcement or they may turn themselves in anytime at the Hennepin County Public Safety Facility.
Advise the deputy at the front lobby that you would like to turn yourself in. You may be placed under arrest and detained in the jail.
Continued detention will depend on bail amount, release conditions, your ability to post bail, and the court schedule.
Bring government issued identification with you, and cash, if you plan on bailing out.
Partner with us to fight crime:
Tipsters are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office with information concerning suspicious activities or the whereabouts of fugitives by calling 1-888-988-TIPS.
Submit an online form – which can be found at www.hennepinsheriff.org.
Text us at 847 411 – begin your message with the keyword HCSOTip and then continue entering your tip.
Download an app for iPhones or android phones. The apps can be located by searching for HCSOTip or Hennepin. Clicking on the app will bring up a tip form that you fill to provide information.
Hennepin County experienced a three-percent increase in violent crime during the first three months of 2017, when compared to the same time period for the year before. Violent crime is defined as: homicide, rape, business robbery, person-to-person robbery, and aggravated assault.
“Hennepin County is a great place to live, but we cannot take our safety for granted. Crime is up and for that reason we all have to remain vigilant for the safety of our families and our neighbors,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.
The 2017 quarter one statistics also show a nine percent increase in property crimes when compared to 2016. Property crimes include: business burglary, residential burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
In total, part 1 crimes are up eight percent. Part 1 crimes include both violent crime and property crime.
Partner with Sheriff to fight crime
Tipsters are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office with information concerning suspicious activities or the whereabouts of fugitives by calling 1-888-988-TIPS.