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Milwaukee Veteran in Drug Treatment Overdosed in VA Medical Center

Milwaukee's VA Medical Center treats all kinds of patients but a Milwaukee warrant revealed a local veteran checked himself into the drug treatment program but a quarter of the way through his treatment, was found dead inside the center, from an overdose. 

He had a needle in his arm, a burnt spoon, baggies with white powdery residue. And drug paraphernalia around his room. 

We wanted to know how a patient, being treated for drug addiction, was able to overdose inside the drug treatment center. 

Dr. Michael Erdmann, Chief of Staff Milwaukee VA says, "I was made aware of the situation immediately."

We sat down with Dr. Erdmann, Chief of Staff for Milwaukee's VA to get to the bottom of the issue. 

(Reporter) What kind of checks are there to make sure they won't be doing drugs while in the program?

"There will be random urine screens. We also have room checks, we inspect their rooms, we also have a K-9 drug dog," said Erdmann.

Dr. Erdmann says the program is voluntary, meaning they can come and go. He says the facility is also shared with patients who have PTSD and who are victims of rape making it inappropriate to pat down every resident who stays in the building.

"Patting someone down would not prevent them from bringing the drugs in, remember we're talking about something, the heroin itself, is the size of a bean, and you could put that many places you wouldn't find a pat search."

Dr. Erdmann says they do have a 24-7 mental health inpatient clinic, but it's used for patients with withdrawal or who intentionally want to harm themselves. He calls this heroin overdose an accident.

"To lose any of our veteran heroes is a tragedy to us, and to members who treat and care for these individuals."

A message he hopes the family hears loud and clear.

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