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Local group handing out 100,000 cards in effort to stop Fentanyl deaths

People are using the drug fentanyl at alarming rates in Milwaukee County. There is a group, however, trying to stop that.

In just one year, the number of fentanyl deaths has jumped from 11% to 33% in Milwaukee. 

A group called Milwaukee Cope is trying to stop opioid abuse.

Dr. E. Brooke Lerner is with the Milwaukee Community Opioid Prevention Effort. She says fentanyl is cheaper so more people are buying it and using it alone. But, it's stronger which is causing more people to overdose.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office says there have been 17 deaths so far this year.

Lerner says it may sound like a small number but it's a lot. It's one reason why Milwaukee Cope created more than 100,000 cards. They're passing them out to fire departments who will then give them to overdose patients or their families to let them know about resources and that they're not alone. 

"I think we've had an opioid problem for a long time and people are paying attention right now because there are so many deaths and it's a tremendous opportunity to get at those root causes."

The cards will be available at fire stations and on the card, it says Naloxone is free. There's a number where you can call to get it. 

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