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Milwaukee Health Department Continues Harm Reduction Work Amidst Devastating Fatal Overdose Weekend

MILWAUKEE – Over the weekend of April 1, 2023, Milwaukee County tragically lost 17 residents to overdose fatalities. The overdose epidemic is a public health crisis, and the Milwaukee Health Department urges all residents to take an active role in helping to prevent overdose deaths.

“Overdose deaths are devastating and preventable,” said Milwaukee Interim Health Commissioner Tyler Weber. “We at the Milwaukee Health Department express our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of those whose lives were lost over the weekend. Our work aims to help those who use drugs and the communities of those who use drugs by providing education, resources, and tools to prevent overdose deaths. We are committed to continuing this work until no other families have to experience the heartbreak of overdose.”

The Milwaukee Health Department continues to provide resources to the community to combat overdose. In 2022, MHD distributed 1,546 Narcan kits and 10,954 fentanyl test strips to the Milwaukee community. In addition to distribution of supplies, MHD staff are working to provide trainings on Narcan nasal spray administration and fentanyl test strips throughout the community. If an individual or organization is interested in a training please reach out to the MHD harm reduction team via email at [email protected].

Substance misuse and opioid use disorder can affect anyone. It is a problem that crosses all socioeconomic and demographic lines, so it’s important for everyone to be educated on how to prevent or stop an overdose. HOPE Kits, distributed through the Milwaukee Overdose Response Initiative (MORI), contain fentanyl test strips, Narcan nasal spray with instruction card, one single-use CPR face shield, and harm reduction, treatment, and community resource information cards. These life-saving kits are available, for free, at any Milwaukee Fire Department station.

The Milwaukee Health Department urges everyone who uses recreational drugs to test for fentanyl every time. Test for your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Those who are struggling with addiction are encouraged to seek professional help. Every overdose that is reversed or avoided due to the use of test strips or Narcan is not only another life saved, but another opportunity for rehabilitation.

“Our goal is to remove the stigma and provide resources with no questions asked,” said Weber. “Getting tools and education in the hands of every Milwaukeean is how we save our community from overdose deaths.”


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