Milwaukee City-County task force offers recommendations to address overdose epidemic
MILWAUKEE — A preliminary report of the City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force was released on Friday, April 27. it offers an initial set of policy recommendations to address the overdose epidemic in Milwaukee and Milwaukee County.
The recommended focus areas included in the preliminary report include:
- Enhance and fund existing prevention programs to keep individuals from developing substance use disorder.
- Reduce the number of opioid related deaths in Milwaukee County.
- Reduce the number of drug violation related arrests amongst youth.
- Ensure there is adequate access to timely, affordable, and quality services for those all people with substance use disorders.
- Develop programs in collaboration with the criminal justice system that treat addiction as a disease, while actively working to reduce the availability of illicit substances.
- Enhance collaboration between community-based initiatives and government agencies.
- Improve epidemiology and surveillance related to substance misuse.
- Support federal, state and local policies and legislation that reduces substance misuse and overdose with equitable, cost-effective and evidence-based approaches.
Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy is the primary sponsor of the Common Council legislation creating the task force. He issued the following statement on the report:
“This report is a key launch point as we look for workable approaches to stem the deadly tide of overdoses and the terrible toll of addiction in our community. The problem of addiction is highly complicated and involves illness and an over-arching public health issue, and the recommendations of the task force are grounded in a public health approach.”
Murphy also indicated multiple public listening sessions will be held across the community to gather input before a final plan is adopted by the task force.
The task force is composed of experts from the Milwaukee Common Council, Health Department, Police Department, Fire Department, Milwaukee County Circuit Court, Intergovernmental Relations, the County Executive’s leadership team, healthcare or hospital systems, the Medical Society of Milwaukee County, medical professionals, community organizations and the general public.