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Drug-related deaths up 60% from 2017 to 2021 in Milwaukee County, on pace to be higher this year

From 2019 to 2021, there has been a 53% increase in drug overdoses in Milwaukee.
Fentanyl Opioids CNN
Posted at 8:38 PM, Aug 10, 2022

MILWAUKEE COUNTY — Total drug-related deaths in Milwaukee County were up more than 60% from 2017 to 2021, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office (MCMEO).

MCMEO says so far this year, drug-related deaths are on pace to be higher in 2022 than 2021.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office's forensic technical director of the toxicology lab Sara Schreiber previously told TMJ4 News that fentanyl is wreaking havoc on the community.

"It all really boils down to potent opioids, whether they be synthetic or natural. However, they're consumed, the baseline finding in these cases is an opioid. So, it was heroin for a while, now it's fentanyl,” said Schreiber.

Milwaukee County hit new records for the last three consecutive years. Schreiber believes it will happen again in 2022.

From 2019 to 2021, there has been a 53% increase in drug overdoses in Milwaukee, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office.

"Every one of these cases that we're investigating, that's somebody's life that we're investigating. We never lose sight of that,” said Schreiber.

Last week, leaders in Waukesha and Washington counties met to address what they've labeled a fentanyl crisis.

RELATED COVERAGE: Fentanyl declared health crisis in Waukesha, Washington counties

Back in June, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services issued a public health alert because of the increase in opioid overdoses at emergency rooms in Washington County. That alert was triggered by four suspected overdoses in the span of a week.

Statewide data also tells a story. Across Wisconsin the opioid epidemic has spread to urban and rural communities, affecting all genders, all races, and many age groups.

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