Milwaukee Opioid Overdose Epidemic
Since 2005 there has been a 495% increase in the rate of heroin related deaths in Milwaukee County. In fact, as of August 2015 heroin represented nearly half of all drug related deaths in our county. It is estimated that for every opioid-related death, there are more than 6 additional people experiencing an overdose that require naloxone, an opioid reversal agent.
As of 2011 unintentional poisoning overtook motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury-related death in the United States, largely due to the heroin/opioid epidemic. While these death rates are stark and easiest to measure, they represent just the tip of the iceberg in this epidemic. It is estimated that 1 in 4 heroin users will develop an addiction. Naloxone is readily available in our community but estimates of how often it is utilized are not easily tracked.
Overdoses in Milwaukee
- 255 people died from a drug-related overdose in 2015.
- 231 (91%) of those overdose deaths were opioid-related.
- The average age of an overdose victim in Milwaukee is 43.
- Men account for 63% of overdose victims and 67% of all overdose victims are white.
- In 2015, there were 30 deaths that involved the super potent drug fentanyl. In just the first 9 months of 2016, there are already 56 recorded deaths involving this drug.
In March of 2016 Alderman Michel Murphy published an article, 888 Bodies and Counting, outlining drug-related overdose deaths from 2012-2015. This article has been a driving factor behind the increase in efforts in the Milwaukee Community to address this epidemic.