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Thursday, January 29, 2015
Accidental death from drugs on the rise, but North Dakota still has lowest rate in the country    view comments tweat me share on facebook
Melissa Patterson knows her daughter, a 22-year-old heroin addict, could die any day from an overdose. “I worry every night that I’m going to get that phone call that she’s gone,” Patterson said. “When I don’t hear from her for a few days, that’s the first place my mind goes.” Patterson, 42, has even written her daughter’s obituary anticipating that she’ll join the rising numbers of North Dakotans who’ve accidentally died from drug use. The most recent state data shows 32 people died this way in 2013, compared with just five in 1999, according to the North Dakota Department of Health, which tallied a total of 256 such deaths in that 15-year span. Though, exactly how many of those deaths were the result of overdoses from recreational use of heroin, prescription painkillers or other opiates is a number that eludes state officials. In trying to combat what’s part of a nationwide trend of opiate abuse, North Dakota lacks a system to count fatal and nonfatal overdoses around the state, which complicates decisions on where to direct funding, said Pamela Sagness, an administrator in the state Department of Human Services. North Dakota officials are seeking to create a system, similar to those in many other states, that would use data from hospitals to help track overdoses. But there’s no timeline of when this plan would take effect, Sagness said.
Grand Forks Herald

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Minnesota house explosion investigation used Grand Forks drone to assist   view comments tweat me share on facebook
A drone from Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the investigation of Monday night’s gas explosion that destroyed a house near Bemidji, Minn. The sheriff’s department received the mutual request at about noon from Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp, according to Grand Forks County Sheriff Bob Rost. The explosion, which occurred about 2 miles southwest of Bemidji, seriously injured one resident of the home. After receiving authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department/University of North Dakota UAS pilots Trevor Woods and Jakee Stoltz responded and conducted the requested flight, according to Rost. All photographs and video were retained by the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Department, he said.

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