Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's son dies of apparent drug overdose

Adam Peterson found dead inside friend's apartment
Posted at 5:59 PM, Sep 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 18:59:17-04

The son of Milwaukee County Medical Examiner Dr. Brian Peterson died Monday of an apparent drug overdose, according to the Medical Examiner's Office.

Authorities say 29-year-old Adam Peterson died inside a friend's apartment near 27th Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

He was reportedly homeless and staying there with his friend, who woke up and found him facedown on the floor.

Paramedics arrived and administered Narcan, known to reverse the effects of a drug overdose, but it was unsuccessful.

Authorities found several different prescription medications in the apartment.

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  • Dr. Peterson reportedly told authorities that his son was known to abuse drugs.

    Court records show that Adam Peterson was ordered to a drug rehab center in 2013 as part of a felony theft conviction.

    The medical examiner's office reports that it has handled more than 70 probable drug overdose deaths in Milwaukee county in just the last seven weeks.

    "Everywhere you look, you see signs of this epidemic and the damage it's doing to our nation," said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel during a panel on the epidemic two weeks ago.

    Dr. Peterson spoke at the same panel, offering statistics on how bad the problem has become in Milwaukee County.

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  • "It's an overwhelming problem," said Dr. Peterson during the September 1 panel."Clearly these drugs are coming from somewhere. The borders are a huge issue, prescription supply is a huge issue. It all just leads to increased death and really something has to be done."

    Pete Carlson is the president of behavioral health at Aurora Health Care.

    He says in the last five years, dependence on opiates has exploded with people either getting hooked on prescription drugs, or turning to Heroin when the prescription runs out.

    "You can't be afraid to have a direct conversation with somebody about their use of drugs or alcohol," said Carlson. "I think if anybody is concerned, they've got to feel comfortable approaching that person."

    He says from his experience, people seek treatment when they're ready and family and friends have to be encouraging when the time comes.

    "If somebody reaches out to you and you have the opportunity to say something, you need to say it because it may be right at the time that they need to hear that in order to start to follow through on treatment," he said.

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  • Aurora Health Care says it encourages families who may be trying to help someone with an addiction to keep Narcan in the home. It's available without a prescription at the pharmacy and according to Aurora Health Care, has saved 4,000 lives in the last five years.

    They also recommend properly disposing of prescription medications that are no longer needed. so they don't end up in the hands of someone who will abuse them. Aurora Health Care says most police stations will accept prescription medications.

    Additional resources including where to find treatment through Aurora Health Care can be found here

    The medical examiner's office is not commenting on Adam Peterson's death and his father has asked for privacy for their family.