Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Press Release
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Thrifty White and Gateway Family Health Clinic teaming up to combat prescription abuse and misuse


January 24, 2019

Despite ongoing efforts across the country, opioid-involved deaths continue to climb. Since 2001, opioid overdose deaths have increased by 345%, with only about 10% of people receiving the treatment they need on an annual basis. Minnesota has not been immune to this epidemic. In 2016, a total of 395 people died of opioid overdose across the state; an 18% increase from 2015. In Carlton County, there were a total of 39 overdose deaths from 2000-2016, according to the Minnesota Department of Health Opioid Dashboard Report. In 2012 and 2017, substance abuse/misuse was reported the number one health concern from the community on the Carlton County Community Health Assessment.

There are several initiatives underway in Minnesota that aim to address the opioid epidemic by reducing risk factors to prevent opioid use and support recovery of individuals and families affected by opioid overdose. These initiatives are possible through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grant and USDA-NIFA Rural Health and Safety Education Grant. These programs are a partnership between The University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, the University of Minnesota Extension, and the rural communities affected by the opioid crisis, including Aitkin county, Itasca county, St. Louis County, Pine County, Carlton County, and several Minnesota Tribal Nations.

In Carlton County, Thrifty White Pharmacy in Moose Lake is stepping to the plate to combat the rising tide of deaths. Thrifty White has engaged in a collaborative practice agreement with Gateway Family Health Clinic, Ltd. This partnership is proactively working to decrease the amount of abuse and misuse of prescription medicines. It allows Thrifty White to dispense naloxone to patients without a prescription, which allows anyone struggling with an opioid use disorder—or a concerned family member or friend—can purchase naloxone at the pharmacy counter. Thrifty White Pharmacy started implementing procedures to increase access to naloxone for the greater community in December 2017. Additionally, they provide patients with information regarding clean syringe exchange, treatment resources, and instructions on naloxone administration. Thrifty White Pharmacy is committed to the care of all their patients. Not only through their dispensing of prescriptions and lifesaving naloxone, but also by providing education and working to reduce stigma about substance use disorder in Carlton County.

Naloxone has already had an enormous impact on the opioid epidemic, having reversed approximately 26,500 overdoses nationwide between 1996 and 2014. Our region has witnessed firsthand its life-saving impact. In the last year, Rural AIDS Action Network in Duluth received reports of 250 cases of overdose reversal in our region, and hundreds more cases unreported or reported to other agencies. The use of naloxone is part of the solution; however, it will not solve the opioid crisis. Naloxone will save lives and give people a chance to seek treatment. Individuals and families wanting to learn more about how to find help for mental health and/or substance use struggles can contact SAMHSA’s National treatment Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). The treatment helpline is free, confidential and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365-days-a-year.


1. MDH. Opioid Dashboard. (Accessed December 28, 2018 at

2. Wright, N., Roesler, J. Drug Overdose Deaths among Minnesota Residents, 2000-2016. Saint Paul, MN: Minnesota Department of Health; 2017.

3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. SAMHSA. Find Help and Treatment. (Accessed December 30, 2018 at


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