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GUMMIES AND CHEWS AVAILABLE AUG. 1 FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS PATIENTS

Patients registered in Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Program will be eligible to buy gummies and chews from the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries starting Aug. 1.

In preparation for the change, registered patients who are interested in these medical cannabis products can make an appointment for a consultation with a medical cannabis dispensary pharmacist to get pre-approved to buy gummies and chews on Aug. 1.

“The state’s medical cannabis program continues to respond to the needs of patients, and gummies and chews may be useful options for those who may have difficulty swallowing pills or tablets, do not want to smoke medical cannabis, or don’t like the taste of other forms of medicine,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm.

These medical cannabis gummies and chews are separate from the recently authorized hemp-derived edible cannabinoid products regulated by the Minnesota Board of Pharmacy.

Under the guidelines of the state’s medical cannabis program, consultations are required when a patient changes the type of medical cannabis they receive. Both medical cannabis manufacturers are currently scheduling consultations. Patients should visit their dispensary’s website for details (see Green Goods or RISE dispensaries).

Scheduling an appointment at a medical cannabis dispensary ahead of Aug. 1 is strongly recommended.

STATE BOARD OF ANIMAL HEALTH; COMINGLING POULTRY EVENTS NOW PERMITTED

BISMARCK – The State Board of Animal Health has rescinded the temporary ban of poultry events and exhibitions, effective immediately.  This ban was first enacted as animal health officials responded to cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) across the state this spring. It was extended in June as cases continued and officials felt these types of poultry events could pose a risk of HPAI transmission.  With the warmer summer weather and bird migrations slowing around the state, the risk of HPAI spreading in the environment has decreased.  Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring shares, “We understand the challenges our small and large poultry producers faced this spring.  Rescinding the ban provides an opportunity for our youth and backyard flocks to once again participate in activities and public sales.” 

State Veterinarian, Dr. Ethan Andress reminds producers, “While the threat of HPAI has diminished, we ask poultry enthusiasts and producers to remain vigilant as the virus is still present and causing sporadic incidents across the country.” The North Dakota State Veterinarian’s Office recommends that people continue to use good practices and follow biosecurity guidelines.  People with sick poultry on their premises should contact their veterinarian and not participate in these types of activities. Sick and dead wild birds can continue to be reported to North Dakota Game and Fish at https://gf.nd.gov/wildlife/diseases/mortality-report. A positive diagnosis in the state will trigger a reinstatement of the ban.

STATE REPORTS RECORD DRUG OVERDOSE DEATHS IN 2021

Minnesota public health officials reported a record number of overdose deaths in 2021, following an alarming pattern seen in many other states in recent years. According to a new report issued this week by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), most overdose deaths in 2021 were associated with fentanyl, a powerful drug that continues to become more common across the country.

The 1,286 overdose deaths reported to MDH last year represented a 22% increase from the 2020 total. This averages more than three people dying every day from an overdose of any drug type. For the first time since 2014, there was a larger percentage increase in overdose deaths in Greater Minnesota (23%) than in the seven-county metropolitan area (20%).

“This increase in drug overdose deaths is alarming, but there are things we can do about it,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “One important step is to expand programs that make it easier for people to access naloxone – a medication that can reverse overdoses and save lives.”

MINNESOTA JOINING OTHER STATES TO ROLLING OUT 988 MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS LIFELINE

People facing a mental health crisis can now dial 988 to connect to support. The change is part of a nationwide effort to transition the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a phone number people can more easily remember and access in times of crisis. The shift also includes an online chat feature and new texting option.

The new 988 dialing code will serve as a universal entry point, so people can reach a trained crisis counselor who can help regardless of where they live. Anyone can dial or text 988 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to reach crisis support or to use an online chat feature to connect with crisis support. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

“Supporting mental health is a critical public health need, and one of the best ways we can do that is to make it as easy as possible for people to get the help they need when they need it,” Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm said. “Our hope is that 988 can be an easier way for people experiencing mental health crises to get support quickly.”

The Lifeline 10-digit number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), will continue to be available and will route people to the same resources. People should call 911 if they suspect drug overdose or need immediate medical help.

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