MILWAUKEE — Eight people have died from an apparent overdose in Milwaukee County since New Year's Eve, according to the Medical Examiner's Office, and it comes on the heels of a potentially record year for drug deaths 2019.
Eight probable OD's, one homicide, and one fatal motor vehicle accident to start out the new year. Autopsies currently in progress. #doseofrealityWI— Medical Examiner (@mkemedexamine) January 2, 2020
"We've seen spikes like this before but this is, you know, a lot," said Sara Schreiber with the ME's office. "This is a big way to start the year."
The ME's office suspects 425 deaths in 2019 were drug related, which would set another record. The record was set in 2017 with 401 deaths.
"It just really proves the point that this is not under control," Schreiber said. "We have not found a solution to this and we will continue to work with each of these cases as they arise."
Michelle Jaskulski of the Addiction Policy Forum sees how impactful the problem is in Milwaukee County.
"Even if you didn’t care about the personal loses, it’s effecting the economy with lost wages, it drives crime up because people in addiction are desperate, so it really is everyone’s problem," she said.
Her organization tries to bring awareness to the problem, and train people how to stop an overdose using medication like NARCAN.
It's a problem that has a wide reach in our community.
"We're all impacted and if you think that you're not I challenge you to ask within your family and friends circle because somebody has somebody that they're dealing with," Schreiber said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you can call 211 or
If you or someone you know is struggling from addiction, call the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline at 211 or 833-944-4673. You can also text your ZIP code to 898211.
We've compiled a list of resources available for help: