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U.S. News

Minnesota: Heroin Arrests Drop in Hastings, Dakota County

January 19, 2011

Despite a five-year growth in heroin use statewide, last year Dakota County recorded a drop in arrests involving heroin, as well as a tapering-off of heroin-related hepatitis C cases among City of Hastings youths.


Dakota County's heroin-related arrests peaked in 2009 with 42, including 14 in Hastings, according to Sgt. Joe Leko, commander of the Dakota County Drug Task Force. 2010 county heroin arrests fell to 29, with three in Hastings. Leko attributes the drop, in part, to the early 2010 arrest of two mid-level heroin dealers who had supplied Hastings and other areas.

State health officials also noted that a spike in cases, in which nine heroin-related hepatitis C infections were diagnosed among Hastings youth in early 2010, appeared to have abated. Dakota County closed out the year with 18 reported cases of hepatitis C, but only two additional cases were diagnosed among persons under 30 in the year's last six months, and no additional cases were reported in Hastings.

A number of those infected with hepatitis C between the ages 16 to 27 admitted sharing heroin needles, said Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) spokesperson Doug Schultz.

Although the early 2010 spurt in heroin-related hepatitis C cases leveled off, the year-end total of 18 more than doubled the county's eight cases in 2009. "Going from eight to 18 is dramatic enough for us to notice and look into," said MDH Epidemiologist Kristin Sweet. "It appears the outbreak is over, but we can't say for sure." Sweet noted that not all heroin users are tested for hepatitis C, so the number of infected users is likely higher.

Back to other news for January 2011

Adapted from:
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
01.15.2011; Jim Adams

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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