Milwaukee County has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. According to data from the Milwaukee County Opioid-Related Overdose Report:
"Opioid-related overdose deaths increased from 144 in 2012 to 337 in 2017. The deaths only illustrate a small part of the effect the opioid epidemic has on the Milwaukee community. In fact, we estimate that in 2017, for every death, there were approximately 5 additional people who experienced an overdose that required Naloxone and survived."
To address this fatal epidemic, MCSAP has made the prevention of prescription drug misuse one of its two main priorities. Its prescription drug work group members educate community members on the proper use, storage, and disposal of their medication. In this way, these powerful drugs will stay out of the hands of the wrong people and prevent future addiction and overdose episodes.
An important funder of this work is the Wisconsin Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success (PFS 2015), which was awarded to Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. Its Milwaukee County partners are:
These partners focus on three main strategies:
Implementing public awareness efforts to prevent and reduce youth substance use:
- Distributing prevention information and giveaways at a free outdoor movie, back-to-school events, National Night Out, and other community events for adults and youth
- Sponsoring public service announcements shown before film screenings, creating a holiday-themed PSA that was disseminated on social media and by local media, and crafting a lean-focused PSA for social media
- Promoting the Dose of Reality campaign at eight Marquette University basketball games per season by providing outreach to fans; giving away playing cards featuring eight star players, Coach Steve Wojciechowski, and facts about prescription drug misuse and abuse; and running PSAs on the scoreboard during the game
- Hosting Hidden in Plain Sight Drug Awareness Program so that adults can learn common signs of substance abuse
- Offering Drug Impairment Training for Educational Professionals (DITEP) to enable those who work in schools to recognize the signs of drug and/or alcohol impairment
Supporting drug security, collection, and disposal:
- Hosting or promoting drug drop boxes in secure places throughout the community
- Sponsoring local drug take-back events and supporting the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s biannual Drug Take-Back collections
- Offering Senior Safety Talks at senior living centers and churches with collections picked up by local law enforcement
- Building alliances with local pharmacists and members of the health community to exchange information on safe prescribing and disposing of medication
- Distributing Deterra drug deactivation pouches, personal lock boxes, and secure mail-back envelopes to safely dispose of unused medication
Sponsoring drug recognition education:
- Providing Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) training for local law enforcement
PFS partners also are involved in MCSAP’s Prescription Drug Workgroup, which includes Milwaukee County coalitions that aim to prevent and reduce the harm posed by misused prescription medication.
For more information about MCSAP’s Partnerships for Success partners, contact Kari Lerch at 414-270-2950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.