Milwaukee Overdoses Pile Up on a Day of Infamy
With 6 autopsies scheduled for Dec 7th alone, the Milwaukee medical examiner’s office tallied a total of 8 deaths within 24hrs.
“It’s becoming the new norm. Probably a third of the cases this year will be overdoses, and they don’t come through just one at a time. They come through in groups,” the medical examiner said. “It’s getting worse and I don’t think we’ve seen the peak of it yet. I think next year will be worse than this year.”
The incidents are even more staggering when Milwaukee’s size is taken into consideration. Ranked 31st in the US with a population of just 600,000 – 8 deaths in one day is the equivalent of New York City losing more than 80 people in a single day.
Efforts have been launched in Milwaukee to fight the problem, including a task force the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County created about six months ago, which seeks to fight the abuse of heroin, opioid painkillers and cocaine.
Ald. Michael Murphy, a member of the task force, says it’s been difficult to marshall the resources to fight this epidemic.
“As a society we have been all suffering from this terrible public health epidemic and I think if I had tried to tell citizens this was due to Zika virus there would be a much different marshaling of resources to fight this problem, but because it’s a drug addiction problem — unfortunately I think the stigma associated with it — it doesn’t get the financial resources or the wherewithal to try and address it,” Murphy says.
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To learn more about how Milwaukee is stepping up to fight the opioid epidemic, please visit WUWM.com.