Free tool now available in Kenosha to detect fentanyl, prevent deadly overdoses

NOW: Free tool now available in Kenosha to detect fentanyl, prevent deadly overdoses

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- First responders in Kenosha have been busy this spring.

So far in 2019, the Kenosha Fire Department has administered NARCAN to overdose victims 43 times.

The Kenosha County Medical Examiner said there have been 8 confirmed overdose deaths in Kenosha so far this year, six of them from fentanyl.

Now, a free tool is available in Kenosha and other parts of the state, including Milwaukee, that could help a user change their mind about using that drug.

The Aids Resource Center of Wisconsin (ARCW) just started distributing fentanyl detection strips to people for free. It allows someone to test a substance to see if fentanyl is present.

“Certainly it would make them think twice,” Mike Gifford, Aids Resource Center CEO and President said. “It could change their decision to potentially use.”

Gifford says of the people using the strips 25-50% of them say their strip has detected fentanyl.

“I think these strips have already saved lives in Wisconsin,” Gifford said.

Fentanyl is mixed in with other drugs and is extremely dangerous and hard to detect.

“It’s 80-100 times more potent than morphine,” Patrice Hall, Kenosha County Medical Examiner, said.

Kenosha’s Opioid Task Force is now spreading the word about the strips, Narcan, and overdose training after the fire department received 43 overdose calls between the end of April and May and a deadly Memorial Day Weekend. Three people died from a suspected overdose on May 25.

“When we see three within a 12-hour window that automatically sets off a red flag for us that there’s obviously an issue in the community,” Hall said.

An issue that the medical examiner says the community can play a role in fixing.

“If you see something suspicious or you see somebody passed out, check on them,” Hall said.

Further information about prevention, treatment, and resources are listed below from Kenosha County Opioid Task Force:

• Narcan is an emergency medication administered nasally to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
• It is available for free from the county after receiving a free training session for people 18 and older. Community trainings are held at 5 p.m. on the first Monday of each month at the Kenosha County Job Center and at 5 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the Racine-Kenosha Community Action Agency, 2000 63rd St., Kenosha. Call 262-605-6741 or email [email protected] to sign up for a training.
• The AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin also provides trainings. Call 262-657-6644 for more information.

• Use the acronym BLUE:
o B (Breathing): The person is not breathing or breathing very slowly. They may be snoring or their breathing sounds like they are gurgling.
o L (Lips): Lips and finger tips are turning blue.
o U (Unresponsive): No response when you yell the person’s name or rub the middle of their chest hard.
o E (Eyes): Center part of their eye is very small, also called “pinpoint pupil.”
• IF AN OVERDOSE IS SUSPECTED, GIVE NARCAN (if available) AND CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY. You or someone you know will require follow-up medical attention.

• The Kenosha County Opioid Task Force holds its meetings, which are open to the public, at 10 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the Kenosha County Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road, Kenosha. More information is at

• The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Resource Center can help you find treatment and services that are right for you such as counseling, medication assisted treatment, or a 12-step program. Call 262-657-7188 for more information.
• Narcotics Anonymous at 262-653-9800
• Heroin Anonymous/Southport Recovery Club at 262-552-6879
• Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program at 262-654-1004
• Recovery Coaches at 262-652-9830 or 262-658-8166
• Resource packets that include information sheets and pamphlets about opioids and related community agencies and programs may be picked up at the Division of Health, 8600 Sheridan Road, Kenosha, and in the lobby at the Public Safety Building, 1000 55th St., Kenosha.
• The “A Way Out” program at local police departments in Lake County, Ill., is available to anyone with private insurance, regardless of their residency. This program fast-tracks drug users to substance abuse programs and services. More information is available at

• LOCK-UP YOUR MEDICATIONS: Keep track of quantity by regularly counting your tablets, in order to make sure they are being used as prescribed, and not misused.
o The Kenosha County Division of Health provides medication lockboxes, free of charge, to all members of the community who feel they could benefit from having them in their home. Call 262-605-6700 for more information.
• DISPOSE OF UNUSED OR EXPIRED MEDICATION Kenosha County has six medication drop boxes located at all the police departments. Visit to find the nearest location and collection hours. Also, Medication Take-Back Day events will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27 at the Kenosha County Job Center in Kenosha and the Kenosha County Center at highways 45 and 50 in Bristol.
• DO NOT SHARE your medications. Use only as prescribed.
• When pain control is needed, ask your medical provider, dentist, or veterinarian if an alternative treatment or medication is available.

For more information, please call the Kenosha County Division of Health at 262-605-6700 or visit

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