Supervisor Ortiz-Velez Resolution Supporting Fentanyl Testing Strip Legalization Advances
MILWAUKEE – Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez is calling on the State of Wisconsin to legalize fentanyl testing strips. The County’s Intergovernmental Relations Committee unanimously endorsed the resolution last week, and the Board of Supervisors will vote on it later this month.
“Milwaukee County has experienced the greatest suffering from opiate overdoses of all jurisdictions in Wisconsin,” said Supervisor Ortiz-Velez. “Last year opiate overdose deaths continued to be higher than homicides, suicides, and motor vehicle accidents combined.”
Overdose deaths in Milwaukee County have reached record highs according to a recent Wisconsin Public Radio article citing data from the National Center for Health Statistics. A significant number of opioid-related overdoses involve fentanyl, which is increasingly added to heroin, cocaine, and other drugs without the knowledge of drug users.
Under current state law, possessing fentanyl testing strips is illegal, for both community members and first responders. Without access to testing strips, drug users risk overdose from the otherwise undetectable presence of fentanyl.
“Fentanyl testing strips can be used to detect the presence of fentanyl in a substance and prevent accidental overdoses,” Supervisor Ortiz-Velez said. “Law enforcement officers and emergency medical technicians are among the first to encounter cases of suspected overdoses and their ability to ascertain if fentanyl was involved changes the protocol and allows first responders to keep themselves safe.”
Supervisor Ortiz-Velez’s proposal has overwhelming community support, including from founder of TEAM HAVOC and Milwaukee Heroin Diaries Rafael Mercado, God Touch Ministries pastor Marty Calderon, and State Senator Lena Taylor.
Supervisors Willie Johnson Jr., Eddie Cullen, Ryan Clancy, Steven Shea, Sequanna Taylor, and Joseph J. Czarnezki were added as co-sponsors to the resolution and spoke passionately about the need to address overdose deaths in Milwaukee County.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to consider the item Thursday, July 29.
- Overdose Deaths From Fentanyl Laced Drugs Increasing - Hope Kirwan - Aug 18th, 2022
- Gov. Evers, AG Kaul Slam Republicans for Again Delaying Funds to Combat Opioid Epidemic - Gov. Tony Evers - Aug 17th, 2022
- City Hall: Milwaukee Gets $18 Million Opioid Settlement - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 16th, 2022
- Waukesha County Declares Fentanyl a ‘Health Crisis’ - Evan Casey - Aug 9th, 2022
- DHS Submits Updated Proposal for Opioid Settlement Funds to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Aug 1st, 2022
- Wisconsin DOJ Announces Agreement with Former Opioid Maker Allergan - Wisconsin Department of Justice - Jul 29th, 2022
- Opioids Maker Teva Agrees to $4.25 Billion Settlement - Wisconsin Department of Justice - Jul 27th, 2022
- Can New Naloxone Medication Reduce Overdose Deaths? - Edgar Mendez - Jul 14th, 2022
- Drug Overdose Deaths Still Plague County - Edgar Mendez - Jun 11th, 2022
- Representatives Gwen Moore, David N. Cicilline, and John Katko Lead Call for Increased Funding in FY 2023 for Federal Lead Poisoning Prevention Efforts - U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore - Apr 28th, 2022
Read more about Opioid Crisis here