Ald. Michael Murphy
Press Release

Common Council greenlights creation of Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force

The task force will build on the city’s partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin and data analysis by Alderman Murphy’s office.

By - Jan 23rd, 2017 02:59 pm

The Milwaukee Common Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to create a City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force charged with studying the problems of drug abuse in Milwaukee County and presenting policy recommendations to address the issue, Alderman Michael J. Murphy said.

“Our analysis of the data shows that drug overdose deaths continue to climb in our community,” Alderman Murphy said. “While we have already developed a critical partnership to study this epidemic, the next step is to translate these data into action.

“That’s where the City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force will come in, analyzing the problem with the help of stakeholders from throughout the community and producing policy recommendations to help reverse this startling, deadly trend.”

Alderman Murphy was the primary sponsor of the legislation creating the task force (attached), which will be composed of experts from the Common Council, Health Department, Police Department, Fire Department, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Intergovernmental Relations, the County Executive’s office, healthcare or hospital systems, the Medical Society of Milwaukee County, medical professionals, community organizations and the general public.

The task force will build on the city’s partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin and data analysis by Alderman Murphy’s office. An early examination of overdose figures had showed the county was on pace to endure a record number of heroin and opiate overdose deaths in the year 2016. Updated 2016 data are expected to be released as the task force is assembled in the weeks ahead.

“Drug abuse and addiction affect nearly every citizen in our community,” Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said. “Instead of stigmatizing these individuals and their families and addressing addiction solely through the criminal justice system, it is imperative that we tackle this public health crisis with supportive, evidence-based resources. The county looks forward to working with the city, the medical community, law enforcement, the courts, faith-based and community organizations, and partners at every level of government in taking a proactive approach to preventing and treating addiction.”

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