Waukesha County declares fentanyl a community health crisis

Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow declared fentanyl a community health crisis on Monday, August 1.

Monday’s statement includes Waukesha County guidelines for:

  • Distribute opioid settlement money, in partnership with the county board, to support Narcan training, the district attorney’s pretrial diversion program, and other related purposes.
  • Implement Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) initiatives, partnering with public and private entities and surrounding counties to share data and best practices.
  • Launch a local public information initiative using the US Drug Enforcement Agency’s “One Pill Can Kill” campaign.
  • Create a set of measurable goals to track county fentanyl efforts that will be measured on a quarterly basis.

A press release says illegally manufactured fentanyl is often found in counterfeit pills designed to look like prescription drugs. This includes prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone or stimulants. People are at risk of fentanyl poisoning if they take pills from a source other than a licensed pharmacy.

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In Waukesha County, drug-related deaths have become the leading unnatural cause of death for adults aged 18-45 in 2020 and 2021, due to an increase in fentanyl poisonings. Waukesha County had a record ninety-five drug-related deaths in 2020. In 2021, at least ninety-two people died from drug-related causes, and ten cases remain unresolved. of an investigation.

Overdose Prevention Efforts in Waukesha County

A mother’s quest is to make sure you know the dangers.

Logan Rachwal’s smile has always been larger than life.

Mom Erin Rachwal hopes the thousands of people who pass her son’s billboard on I-94 every day won’t be able to ignore her message.

“We’re supposed to be able to learn from our mistakes and grow. With Fentanyl, you don’t get another chance to grow,” Rachwal said.

Logan Rachwal died of fentanyl poisoning last year on Valentine’s Day.

He is one of nearly two dozen Wisconsin residents featured in a new poster campaign – putting a face to the deadly grip of fentanyl.

“If we can save a family from going through what we go through every day, it will be worth it,” she said.

“Today I declare fentanyl a community health crisis in Waukesha County,” said Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow.

He says drug-related deaths are now the number one killer of people between the ages of 18 and 45 in the county.

“70% of them are fentanyl-related,” Farrow said.

On Monday, Waukesha and Washington counties pledged to do more to stop him.

Waukesha County will use opioid settlement money for Narcan training.

The Sheriff’s Department’s “Metro Drug Unit” will also become a federal task force – drawing on more resources:

“Look at distribution routes and find routes to bigger and bigger suppliers,” Sheriff Eric Severson said, saying fentanyl-containing pills are entering the United States through the country’s southern border.

Buyers don’t know they are deadly.

“If you don’t get it from your doctor, from your home, you can’t take it,” he said.

By putting 17 faces for all to see, Erin Rachwal hopes you realize that fentanyl does not discriminate.

No parent wants to see their child in these lights – now a warning to others.

“Nothing will ever take away the pain of loss. But it helps channel the grief. That’s what we have to do. We have to take our grief and do something about it,” she said.

The billboards will operate until at least October. They are sponsored by Love, Logan Foundation and Saving Others for Archie – two groups started by parents who have lost sons to overdoses.

Officials say the fentanyl community health crisis statement is just one of many ways Waukesha County is working to address the opioid crisis. Waukesha County uses a collective impact approach through several programs focused on prevention, treatment and enforcement.

  • On Monday, July 25, the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department announced that its Metro Drug Unit will become a unit of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) later this year. As a federal task force, the Metro Drug Unit will have an enhanced ability to pursue the reduction of controlled substances available in Waukesha County. They will also be able to conduct investigations leading to sources of supply outside of Waukesha County. Learn After.
  • Waukesha County is working to expand a program which embeds a counselor in the sheriff’s department to expedite care in the event of a mental health crisis.
  • In May, Waukesha County leaders announced new efforts preventing substance use in the community by allocating approximately $200,000 to expand prevention efforts in schools and the community.
  • Earlier this year, the Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) added an additional full-time peer support specialist to the Mental Health and Addictions Outpatient Services clinic staff.
  • The Waukesha County Heroin Task Force has reignited its collaborative work to reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic in the county. Action teams made up of key community stakeholders work collaboratively in three key areas: prevention, harm reduction, and treatment and recovery to achieve results within a calendar year.
  • HHS has a close relationship with theWaukesha County AODA Volunteerswho provide valuable outreach, education and support to people in recovery or considering abstaining from drugs or alcohol.
  • The Women’s Health and Recovery Project (WHARP), coordinated by HHS Waukesha County, helps women with substance use disorders and their children who have complex needs related to issues such as housing, employment, mental health , physical health, transportation and child care.
  • From May 2017 to July 23, 2022, over 305 documented lives have been saved, at least 303 using the overdose reversal medication Naloxone / Narcan, thanks to the HHS Naloxone Project of Waukesha County.
  • From May 2017 to June 2022, people who use it, their family members and friends, first responders and the general public were helped by: 521 naloxone administration training sessions with 4,918 people , including 1,048 law enforcement officers. 7,170 Naloxone kits were distributed free of charge.
  • Waukesha County participates in several statewide initiatives, such as Drug Treatment Court, National Prescription drug take-back dayand the Wisconsin Injection Drug Use Prevention Project.

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