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    How is Milwaukee Combatting the Opioid Epidemic

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    The Opioid Epidemic has been affecting thousands of citizens in the United States. These sources below will look into the statistics on the Opioid Epidemic in the United States, the state of Wisconsin, and county of Milwaukee. These sources have been gathered in an effort to understand the epidemic, how many it is affecting, and what Milwaukee county is doing to combat the epidemic.

    The United States Opioid Epidemic

    Opioids are naturally an abundant drug around the globe. To better our understanding with Milwaukee’s issue with opioids we have to also look at the country. Doctor Charles W. Van Way puts the spotlight on the United States surplus of opioids due to pharmaceutical companies, and discloses the natural abundance of the drug.

    Bashing Big Pharma

    Oxycodone is sold worldwide and is used as a pain killing additive in the patented OxyContin. The world naturally has a surplus of oxycodone. On top of the worldwide surplus Pharmaceutical companies produce a high number of painkillers with opioids as the pain killing additive with no means for moderation. The surplus of opioids worldwide and the mass production of opioids from pharmaceutical companies creates a surplus in the United States. The surplus of Opioids creates easier access to the drug increasing the amount who consume the drug. A quote from Van Ways article helps shed the light on the current opioid market “It’s a generic medicine in the U.S. There’s a huge supply worldwide. Is some of that being diverted into illegal channels?). The question pretty much answers itself” (Van Way, 2019). Doctor Van Way explains the large supply of oxycodone sold worldwide multiplied by Big Pharma producing Opioids has created the opioid epidemic in the USA today. The black market also continues to fuel the market on the illegal side. To understand Milwaukee’s issues with opioids we have to look at the country and world as a whole. We can infer that there is a constant influx of opioids throughout the state of Wisconsin and in Milwaukee. There is an abundance both on the legal and illegal spectrum of opioids and aids in the Opioid Epidemic.

    Wisconsin Deaths

    Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths are affecting thousands of Wisconsin residents each year and the number of deaths has been continuing to grow since 1999. This affects residents of Wisconsin throughout the state and is a nationwide epidemic throughout the country. In the date ranges from 2014-2017 there has been a total of 3,862 Opioid related deaths in Wisconsin. 1,676 of these deaths were from prescription opioids. 1,673 of these deaths were from heroin. These statistics clarify there is a significant issue in Wisconsin with opioids. Understanding the amounts of deaths from opioids creates a baseline for research on how and what we are doing to combat the issue and if it is making an impact on lowering the amount of deaths in the state.

    Milwaukee County Deaths

    Milwaukee county has 83.6 per 100,000 for opioid related opioid emergency room visits making it the highest rank in the state. Milwaukee also holds the highest death rate from Opioids at 30.6 per 100,000. In the same date ranges from 2014-2017 Milwaukee accounted for 1,308 deaths from opioids. This is around one third of the total deaths in the state of Wisconsin. Milwaukee leads the state in hospital visits and deaths. This is due to it being the highest in population amongst the state and reaffirms the seriousness of their actions to combat the issues in the future.

    What is Milwaukee Doing to Stop the Opioid Epidemic

    Milwaukee in recent years has put together multiple initiatives to stop the opioid epidemic. The Milwaukee Community Opioid Prevention effort (M.C.O.P.E) is one of those initiatives that is pushing the narrative on all fronts. M.C.O.P.E puts out guidance for protocols in Milwaukee county and they disperse critical information either on overdose prevention literature, the opioid epidemic, newsletters and community resources. What this site does it is it compartmentalizes data and information and puts it back out that most benefits the Opioid initiative. MCOPE put out an overdose prevention suggestion for EMS by EMS in 2016 that explains how fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine and 600 times more lipid soluble; increasing its penetration into the brain. This drug requires special treatment and from its soluble strong form is killing easier. They disclosed the policy for EMS taking care of the overdosed since there has been spikes in overdoses. M.C.O.P.E also put out a research analysis on current medical treatment. What I am highlighting from M.C.O.P.E is their study from 1946 and July, 15th 2016 that focused on evaluating the effectiveness of various community-level interventions with the goal to reduce opioid and heroin-related overdose deaths.

    M.C.O.P.E’s analysis of if a Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) would be a proper installation on the benefits of identifying patients and communities at increased risk of overdose. On the other hand creating monitoring programs could also drive the prescription addicts into the black market. Either way M.C.O.P.E is compartmentalizing data and disbursing it for the Milwaukee area and is on the frontlines of this epidemic as a website they are a significant stakeholder on this issue in the Milwaukee county.

    City-County Heroin, Opioid, and Cocaine Task Force Initial plan, Milwaukee Wisconsin

    The City-County Heroin, Opioid, and Cocaine Task Force plan overview has 6 categories: Prevention & Education, Treatment, Criminal Justice Involvement, Community Collaboration, Data, Policy. In the task forces focus area 2 their plan is to reduce the number of opioid related deaths in Milwaukee county. Through the timely administration of naloxone, an opioid antagonist. Naloxone can reduce the number of opioid-related deaths in Milwaukee County. The plan is to make this drug ready available and to repeat the training on the substance through different community events. Since deaths from overdose typically happen 1-3 hours after intake the early administration of this substance is essential in reducing deaths. Much like earlier in regards to the flooding of opioids the flooding of naloxone to combat opioids is one of the many focus areas from the task force.

    Take Back My Meds

    March 27, 2019. Attorney general Josh Kaul speaks at takebackmymeds.com to disclose efforts to combat opiate abuse. Take back my meds is an initiative to allow public gatherings to collect unused drugs to get rid of them. 70% of opioid addictions start at home. Take Back My Meds is a nationwide organization that has a location in Milwaukee. Their drop off locations are posted below, they are scattered throughout the Milwaukee area. 70% is a high enough percentage to want to take a certain initiative to bring down this statistic and Milwaukee’s Take Back My Meds is trying to lower that statistic.

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    How is Milwaukee Combatting the Opioid Epidemic. (2021, Dec 24). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/how-is-milwaukee-combatting-the-opioid-epidemic-175086/

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