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‘Highly concerning:’ Kenosha County medical examiner reports 3 overdose deaths in 12 hours

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KENOSHA COUNTY — It was a tragic Memorial Day weekend in Kenosha County, with the medical examiner reporting three overdose deaths on Saturday, May 25 alone.

According to a news release, those who died ranged in age from 20s to 50s. Two were men, and the third was a woman.

Each of the cases occurred within about a 12-hour span, and the three people who died were suspected of using cocaine and/or heroin.

One case took place in Kenosha, and the other in Twin Lakes. The third was a person from Antioch, Illinois, but because they were taken to the Froedtert South St. Catherine’s Medical Center Campus, this was a Kenosha County death investigation.

“It’s highly concerning that we had three suspected overdose deaths within such a short time span,” said Patrice Hall, Kenosha County medical examiner, in the release. “I’m bringing this to the attention of the public so that they are aware of what’s going on, and that treatment is available.”

The medical examiner said in all of 2018, there were 48 overdose deaths in Kenosha County — an average of less than one case per week.

The release noted in addition to the fatal cases, first responders with the Kenosha Fire Department responded to two other cases Saturday that were non-fatal.

Jim Poltrock, the Kenosha Fire Department’s EMS division chief noted the department handled an unusually high number of overdose cases in recent weeks, including 43 calls between April 20 and May 26 — 30 of them opioid related.

The release said Kenosha County officials continue to fight the opioid epidemic with efforts including the Kenosha County Opioid Task Force, free Narcan training and supply for anyone in the community, and medication-assisted treatment.

Kenosha County officials offered this information/resources for those in need:

Free Narcan training/education: 

  • Narcan is an emergency medication administered nasally to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
  • It is available for free from the county after receiving a free training session for people 18 and older. Community trainings are held at 5 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the Kenosha County Job Center and at 5 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the Racine-Kenosha Community Action Agency, 2000 63rd Street, Kenosha. Call 262-605-6741 or email narcan@kenoshacounty.org to sign up for a training.
  • The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin also provides trainings. Call 262-657-6644 for more information.

Know what a suspected overdose looks like: 

  • Use the acronym BLUE: B (Breathing): The person is not breathing or breathing very slowly. They may be snoring or their breathing sounds like they are gurgling. L (Lips): Lips and finger tips are turning blue. U (Unresponsive): No response when you yell the person’s name or rub the middle of their chest hard. E (Eyes): Center part of their  eye is very small, also called “pinpoint pupil.”
  • If an overdose is suspected, give Narcan (if available) and call 911 immediately.

Treatment/resources:

  • The Kenosha County Opioid Task Force holds its meetings, which are open to the public, at 10 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Kenosha County Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road, Kenosha. More information is available by CLICKING HERE. 
  • The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resource Center can help you find treatment and services that are right for you such as counseling, medication assisted treatment, or a 12-step program. Call 262-657-7188 for more information.
  •  Narcotics Anonymous at 262-653-9800.
  • Heroin Anonymous/Southport Recovery Club at 262-552-6879.
  • Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program at 262-654-1004.
  • Recovery Coaches at 262-652-9830 or 262-658-8166.
  • Resource packets that include information sheets and pamphlets about opioids and related community agencies and programs may be picked up at the Division of Health, 8600 Sheridan Road, Kenosha, and in the lobby at the Public Safety Building, 1000 55th Street, Kenosha.
  • The “A Way Out” program at local police departments in Lake County, Ill., is available to anyone with private insurance, regardless of their residency. This program fast-tracks drug users to substance abuse programs and services. More information is available by CLICKING HERE.

Prevention:

  • Lock up your medications: Keep track of quantity by regularly counting your tablets, in order to make sure they are being used as prescribed, and not misused.
  • The Kenosha County Division of Health provides medication lockboxes, free of charge, to all members of the community who feel they could benefit from having them in their home. Call 262-605-6700 for more information.
  • Dispose of unwanted medication: Kenosha County has six medication drop boxes located at all the police departments. CLICK HERE to find the nearest location and collection hours. Also, Medication Take-Back Day events will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27 at the Kenosha County Job Center in Kenosha and the Kenosha County Center at highways 45 and 50 in Bristol.
  •  Do not share your medications. Use only as prescribed.
  • When pain control is needed, ask your medical provider, dentist, or veterinarian if an alternative treatment or medication is available.
  • Talk with friends and family about the dangers of opioid/opiate use. For information, CLICK HERE.
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