“A terrible statistic:” City leaders unveil ways to combat Milwaukee’s opioid epidemic

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MILWAUKEE -- The fight against Milwaukee's opioid addiction epidemic is taking a major step forward. On Wednesday, June 15th key players in the city's efforts unveiled a number of ways to prevent future overdoses.DEA 360 Strategy

"We live in a pill-taking culture," said CADCA Deputy Director, Carlton Hall.

First outlining why there is a problem.

"We know that whenever there's an increase in accessibility, there's going to be an increase in drug use," said Hall.

Drug prevention experts explained to a crowd of 200, what can be done to overcome Milwaukee's opioid addiction crisis.DEA 360 Strategy

"One thing that I ask you to consider, is no one starts, or very few people start with heroin. Folks that are already addicted to alcohol or marijuana or cocaine are much more likely to become addicted to heroin," said Hall.DEA 360 Strategy

The event is part of the DEA 360 Strategy, an effort to combat the abuse of narcotics through partnerships with law enforcement, doctors and the community.

Within the past decade, the number of people who have died from drug-related overdoses has risen 500%. Just since 2012, the epidemic has claimed 888 lives.

"It's a pretty terrible statistic when you think that's it's 2.5 times the total number of auto accidents in Milwaukee County," said Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy.

Alderman Michael Murphy says locally outreach work needs to broaden, the average victim is a 43-year-old white male or female.DEA 360 Strategy

"The problem is skewing much older than most people realize," said Murphy.

At the state and national level, legislation is key. Wisconsin currently has several bills in the works aimed to hold police and health professionals accountable.

"One of them is that you have to report opioid deaths, diversion, thefts or any violation of the Controlled Substances Acts," said the Department of Safety and Professional Services Secretary, Dave Ross.DEA 360 Strategy

One kind of opiod that has made headlines recently is fentanyl. It's 100 times more powerful than morphine.

You'll remember Prince died from an accidental overdose of the painkiller last month.

City leaders say they've seen an alarming increase in the number of overdose deaths related to fentanyl since the beginning of the year.

1 Comment

  • mrm42

    Decriminalization/legalization is necessary, it needs to be backed up with public health announcements explaining exactly why it is needed. Its not in any way condoning the abuse of addictors, it is done bc the alternative, the drug war, has made things infinitely worse on almost every level, to include making all drugs abundantly available to any & all that wants them. We need to pull LE out of the drug biz – that will free up a lot of resources currently chasing their collective tails. When the laws create more harm and cause more damage than they prevent, its time to change the laws. The $1 TRILLION so-called war on drugs is a massive big government failure – on nearly every single level. Its way past time to put the cartels & black market drug dealers out of business. Mass incarceration has failed. We need the science of addiction causation to guide prevention, treatment, recovery & public policies. Otherwise, things will inexorably just continue to worsen & no progress will be made. Addiction causation research has continued to show that some people (suffering with addiction) have a “hypo-active endogenous opioid system.” This is the (real) brain disease, making addiction a symptom, not a disease itself. One disease, one pathology. Policy must be made reflecting addiction(s) as a health issue. The war on drugs is an apotheosis of the largest & longest war failure in history. It actually exposes our children to more harm & risk and does not protect them whatsoever. In all actuality, the war on drugs is nothing more than an international projection of a domestic psychosis, it is not the “great child protection act,” its actually the complete opposite. We need common sense harm reduction approaches desperately. MAT (medication assisted treatment) and HAT (heroin assisted treatment) must be available options. Of course, MJ should not be a sched drug at all.

    “Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”

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