Little Falls, Minnesota is a small town of about 8,000 people that is notable for one major reason: it managed to beat the opioid crisis.
Little Falls is one of the biggest successes in America's war against opioids. And the town didn't really do anything that revolutionary. Using only around $1.4 million in state grants, the town simply began limiting prescription refills, increasing access to addiction medications, and putting drug users in treatment programs instead of jail. Within six months of doing so, painkillers dropped from the number one reason people came to the emergency room in Little Falls to outside of the top 20 reasons. 626 people in the town have been helped to stop using opioids.
Buzzfeed ran an in-depth article on how Little Falls helped accomplish these goals. The strategy boils down basically treating addiction like a disease, and not a crime. They began helping addicts get into treatment programs and working to get them off of drugs, not punishing them for using them.
Other towns around America are taking similar approaches after experts began recommending policies that followed this general formula. And while they may not have completely eliminated their issues like Little Falls, they have seen drastic drops in overdose deaths after initiating these types of programs.
Once again, more proof that the War on Drugs doesn't solve the issues its meant to stop.