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Medical examiner says deaths related to meth are increasing, ‘and have been since 2014’

MILWAUKEE -- Officials with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office said meth is making a comeback.

"The numbers related to methamphetamine in the deaths that we are investigating are increasing, and have been since 2014. We've been kind of watching for this trend to happen for decades. They've been promising that methamphetamine is going to make its hit, and it really has in the Midwest," said Sara Schreiber, forensic technical director at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office.

In 2014, there was one meth-related death in Milwaukee County.

"But in the last three years, we've had an increase from seven to 15," said Schreiber.

Sara Schreiber

Officials with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office said they could not explain why meth use has increased, but said they believe it might have to do with the opioid epidemic.

"Since that combination of stimulant and depressant have become popular, I'm not real surprised they've started to mix with a stimulant like methamphetamine to see if they can get a similar or different high," said Schreiber.

Schreiber said some users might be worried that opioids are more deadly than a stimulant like meth.

"At this point in time, we're looking at 356 drug-related deaths for 2018, with still a few cases pending. A little bit short of last year with 401," said Schreiber.

Officials said the shift in perception between stimulants and depressants might eventually lead to a shift when it comes to drugs of choice for users.

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