Medical Examiner: 2 men found dead of apparent drug overdoses at Potawatomi Hotel

Posted at 12:22 PM, Oct 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-09 19:09:06-04

MILWAUKEE – Two men were found dead in a hotel room Monday morning at the Potawatomi Hotel in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner said the men were in their 30s or 40s and their deaths are a result of probable drug overdoses. They said the men are not from Milwaukee. 

It's the third possible overdose investigation at the hotel in the last 12 months. The first was on Dec. 27, 2016 when a 33-year-old man from Oconomowoc was found dead of acute heroin intoxication. Then, three months later, a 31-year-old man from Milwaukee with the same cause of death; acute heroin intoxication.

Autopsies are scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 10 to determine a cause of death, but the medical examiner says they took extra precaution during the investigation because of the potential for airborne opioid exposure. 

It was a busy weekend for the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner. They investigated 10 possible overdose deaths. To date, there have been 271 overdose deaths in the county, a mark they didn't reach until mid-December of 2016. 

"We're far-reaching where we were this time last year and are on par to pass everything we did last year by a long shot," said Sara Schreiber with the Medical Examiner's Office. 

Schreiber is the Forensic Technical Director of Toxicology Laboratory with the Medical Examiner.

She said, of the 271 overdose deaths this year, more than half are from heroin or fentanyl. 

"The variety varies within the decedents we're investigating but the far majority of them are using an opioid," Schreiber said. "Greater than 50 percent are related to heroin or fentanyl. That is up from the numbers we saw last year."

Compared to 10 years ago, the county has seen a more than 70 percent increase in overdose deaths. A trend they think is going to get worse before it gets better.

"The numbers are still trending dramatically on an increase," Schreiber said. "I don't think we've reached the height yet. I think we're still going to see some more. I'm hoping that I'm wrong with that but since we're not close to the numbers from last year, I expect us to go up from here."

No other information has been released, but Potawatomi released this statement:

“We’re saddened by the deaths of the two guests who stayed with us over the weekend. Our sympathies go out to their family, friends and loved ones.”