'A daily reality:' Medical examiner investigates 23 probable overdose deaths in 21 days

MILWAUKEE -- Officials with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office announced on Monday, Jan. 21 they are investigating 23 probable overdose deaths so far in 2019. That's 23 deaths in 21 days.

The medical examiner said more people have died this year than in January of 2018, when 17 people passed away as a result of overdoses. The opioid fentanyl is the most common drug. It is often combined with others.

"They're a daily reality for us here in this office," said Sara Schreiber, forensic technician at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office. "Confirmed last year at this time, we had 17 in January of 2018, and right now, like you said, we have 23 probable drug deaths we are investigating.  We are definitely trending faster than we were last year this time. It's still a very prevalent problem. We are still dealing with this on daily basis. We still have cases reported to our office on a regular basis. There's not a lot our office can do except for provide that data, share what substances are causing these deaths, give people information about what to look for. What does it look like demographically -- those kinds of things are helpful to do prevention and the educational opportunities."