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Milwaukee Co. leaders discuss resources as drug overdoses spike amid the pandemic

County leaders discuss mental health and addiction resources
Posted at 4:43 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 19:19:40-04

MILWAUKEE — During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported an increase in emergency room visits for drug overdoses across the country, including in Milwaukee. The CDC also reported an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety.

County Executive David Crowley was joined by Behavioral Health Division Administrator Michael Lappen during a Facebook live on Wednesday to discuss some of the resources available in the county for those struggling with mental health or addiction.

"Unfortunately isolation and really a lack of other stuff to do has really impacted people all over the community," Lappen said.

Overdose deaths have been increasing in the county since 2018. But in 2020, overdose deaths increased by about 30% from the year before. The Medical Examiner reports 142 confirmed overdose deaths and 95 cases pending toxicology reports so far in 2021.

overdose deaths in Milwaukee County

"Let's all make sure that we're continuing to check-in with ourselves, and our loved ones, our friends and our neighbors," County Executive Crowley said.

The Behavioral Health Division has various resources for those who need them including clinics across Milwaukee, access to free Narcan and safe and sober housing programs.

For people who need immediate help, you can call the crisis line at (414) 257-7222.

"For people out there listening who either have a challenge themselves or have a loved one that they are concerned about, the crisis line is a fantastic opportunity to get them immediate help," Lappen said.

He said friends and family can also be a big help in connecting those in need to resources.

"The goal is to keep people alive so they can eventually engage in treatment and get on the road to recovery," Lappen said.

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