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MPD announces new task force for drug epidemic

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) – The Milwaukee Police Department has announced a new task force to help put a stop to the drug epidemic plaguing the city.

As of December 14th, there have been 357 confirmed drug overdoses this year in Milwaukee County.

CBS 58 spoke with a local family who shared what it was like to see drugs take over their loved ones.

 “My father died of a heroin overdose in 2006,” says Lorenzo Vega. “My brother was also an addict.”

Raymond Lopez was 22-years-old when he left Milwaukee to try and get clean. His family says he died a few weeks ago in Missouri but his death was not related to drugs.

“We all tried to help,” says Vega. “He finally got to the point where he wanted to escape the problem here in Milwaukee.”

“People should not be mistaken about the seriousness of this problem locally and nationally,” says Mayor Tom Barrett while addressing the media in a press conference.

For that reason, the Milwaukee police Department announced the creation of a new task force solely dedicated to addressing the problem.

“There’s going to be 16 people exclusively focused on this issue,” says Police Chief Ed Flynn. “Their full-time job is going to be to identify the suppliers in overdose deaths.”

Chief Flynn described it as a collaborative effort. The task force’s goal will be to find dealers after a fatal drug overdose. And make sure people suffering from addiction get the help they need.

“We are enforcement focused looking to prosecute dealers not users,” says Flynn. “We’re going to collaborate with other service providers and medical professionals.”

“I hope they get to the source and get there before the problem gets worse,” says Vega.

Vega hopes the task force will help keep other families together before it’s too late .

“I’d want to show him(his brother) that there’s better things to do with your life than to do drugs,” says Vega.

The Milwaukee Police Department is also asking the public’s help in reporting any known addictions to them to better help them address the problem.

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