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Drop off boxes part of county wide push against opioid epidemic

The Milwaukee Medical Examiner’s Office says there have been 306 confirmed drug deaths so far this year.

Local leaders say a solution to the problem will not happen overnight, they say it’ll take a community-wide effort to address the problem.

In 2016, 64,000 died from heroin and opioid addiction in the country, according to Michael Murphy, Alderman for the 10th district.

“That’s more than guns and automobile accidents,” says Murphy. “That’s more than when HIV was at its extreme worst point in our history.”

“It’s a scary thing what’s going on nationally and here in Wisconsin as well,” says Marquette Chief of Police, Paul Maskari.

Maskari says his officers are trained to deal with overdose scenarios.

In August, Officer Paul Zientek had to put that training to the test when he found a woman barely conscious in a car.

“I began to shake her and I was not getting a response from her,” says Officer Zientek. “There were needles on the passenger side of the vehicle along with some rubber bands.”

Zientek says it took several doses of Narcan to bring the victim back. She was treated at the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

“Drug addiction is a disease,” says Angie Hagy, director of disease control

That’s why law makers are making a push for prescription drop boxes to be placed at local businesses.

Officials say if everybody chips in, they could put a dent in the current drug overdose stats.

“By the end of the year potentially more than 400 people dead in Milwaukee County, that’ll be four times what we see in homicides,” says Murphy.

It’ll cost a business $1,000 to have a drop box at their location. Organizers say that’s a small price tag when it comes to saving lives.

For those living outside Milwaukee County, Saturday, October 28 is National Drug Take Back Day. To find a location near you, please click here. 

Bring: Prescription (controlled and non-controlled) and over-the-counter medications, ointments, patches, inhalers, non-aerosol sprays, creams, vials and pet medications.

Do Not Bring: Illegal drugs, needles/sharps, acids, aerosol cans, bio-hazardous materials (anything containing a bodily fluid or blood), personal care products (shampoo, soaps, lotions, sunscreens), household hazardous waste (paint, pesticides, oil, gas), mercury thermometers.

Click here for more information. 

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