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Same drug that killed Prince is killing in Milw.

Posted: 10:14 PM, Jun 03, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-04 07:50:53Z

The drug that killed Prince is also taking lives in record numbers in Milwaukee County.

In 2010, 16 people died from Fentanyl overdoses. In 2015, 30 died. So far this year, 32 have died from Fentanyl use.

The opioid drug is routinely used in medical practice. Some doctors say that's the problem.

"We need to make a change, because it is killing people," said Dr. Tomas Kucera, a pain management doctor at Advanced Pain Management.

He said the drug releases endorphin's, which create a feeling of happiness for users.

"It was a warm sensation that came over me that nothing could touch me," described anti-drug advocate Rick Lybert.

Lybert didn't want that feeling. In fact, he was awake during surgery for Carpal Tunnel because he doesn't like how opioid medication makes him feel. But, when Lybert's blood pressure spiked during the procedure, doctors had no choice but to give him a small dose of the powerful drug, Fentanyl.

"After I came down off of Fentanyl I was angry," he said. That's because Lybert finally understood how his son, Tyler, felt while battling heroin addiction.

"Why couldn't Tyler just stop? And I got so mad at that. Now, I have a better understanding of why he couldn't stop," because it was a warm feeling, rather than a bad one, explained Lybert.

It's a deadly feeling, as more than 50 people die each day from opioid use in the United States, according to Dr. Kucera.

"Opioid prescriptions in America have quadrupled," he said. "Our population has not."

Knowing how it feels, never expecting to need such a potent drug, Lybert said he now feels an even more personal connection to his advocacy work.

"Nobody is safe," he said.

If you want to learn more about this growing problem in the Milwaukee area, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, State Rep. John Nygren and pain management experts will be participating in a panel discussion. You can find information by clicking here.