Milwaukee Experiencing Unprecedented Number of Drug Overdoses
Approximately one drug overdose every 14 hours.
Milwaukee is on it’s way to having a record number of drug overdose deaths this year. The Medical examiner’s office documented 127 probable deaths between July 1 and September 11. In the face of the epidemic, advocates and recovering drug users continue spreading awareness of the issue, and providing the hope some people need in order to change their lives.
Sara Schreiber, toxicology director for the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office, told Wisconsin Examiner Milwaukee is experiencing “one overdose death, every 14 hours.”
“If this rate continues, we will have over 450 drug-related deaths in 2019, eclipsing the previous record of 401 individuals who died from drug-related causes in 2017.” Schreiber said. She explains that heroin, fentanyl, other opioids, and benzodiazepines were involved in most of the deaths. In July, 14 fatal overdoses occurred over a single weekend in the Cream City.
The news comes as Milwaukee County joins municipalities nationwide in suing Purdue Pharma for its role in fueling the opioid epidemic’s early years. Local governments hope that settlements from the lawsuits will repay civic damages caused by the crisis. According to the Independent, the opioid crisis has resulted in over $1 trillion in economic damages over the last couple of decades.
“These tragedies can be prevented,” says Michelle Jaskulski, senior director of faith and family programs for Addiction Policy Forum. “One step we all can take to help save a life is learning how to recognize and respond to an overdose. The city should be following the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendation that the life-saving antidote Naloxone be readily available for anyone.”
Jaskulski and colleagues at APF hold events training people how to use Naloxone in its various forms. One of these demonstrations took place in a meeting on addiction in August, the topic of the day being that recovery is possible for users.
“We think it is important to celebrate people’s success along with the efforts of those who support them,” says Klein. “Not talking about this issue that is probably impacting everyone in some way, shape, or form only reinforces the belief that the behavior is shameful and not something a person talks about. Shame makes it extremely difficult for people and their families to ask for help.”
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin Examiner.
More about the Opioid Crisis
- MKE County: Crowley Promotes Vending Machines To Prevent Opioid Deaths - Graham Kilmer - Mar 13th, 2023
- Fitzgerald, Johnson Introduce SOFA Act to Fight Opioid Epidemic - U.S. Rep Scott Fitzgerald - Mar 1st, 2023
- Local Officials Hope Lawsuit Settlement Funds Can Reduce Drug Overdoses - Evan Casey - Feb 13th, 2023
- Why Are So Many More Young Wisconsinites Dying? - Edgar Mendez - Feb 10th, 2023
- DHS Seeks Ideas for $8 Million in Opioid Settlement Funds - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Jan 26th, 2023
- MKE County: Six Ways County Will Spend Opioid Settlement Funds - Graham Kilmer - Jan 24th, 2023
- Baldwin Votes to Boost Mental Health Support and Take on the Fentanyl and Opioid Epidemic - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Jan 23rd, 2023
- Gov. Evers Launches Housing Program to Support Individuals Experiencing Homelessness and Opioid Use Disorders - Gov. Tony Evers - Dec 28th, 2022
- AG Kaul Announces $10.7 Billion in Agreements with CVS and Walgreens over Opioid Epidemic Allegations - Wisconsin Department of Justice - Dec 16th, 2022
- Narcan, Fentanyl Testing Strip Vending Machines Planned for Milwaukee - Isiah Holmes - Dec 1st, 2022
Read more about Opioid Crisis here