Medical examiner notes record drug overdose deaths in Milwaukee County in 2019

MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office released statistics on Friday, April 17 about drug-related deaths in 2019.

The news release indicates 2019 as a record year for fatal drug overdoses in Milwaukee County. Drug overdoses killed 418 individuals in 2019 compared to the previous record of 401 deaths in 2017. Eight in ten of these deaths involved opioids or synthetic opioids and 75% of the deaths involved more than one substance. While the deaths involving heroin declined 21% from 2017 to 2019, the deaths involving fentanyl rose 29% in the same two-year period.

The numbers are broken down as follows:

2019 deaths

    2018 deaths for comparison

      The news release says law enforcement continues to see an increase in fentanyl-related seizures in the Milwaukee area.  Fentanyl is being distributed both by itself and in mixtures with other drugs, including heroin and cocaine.  Individuals who are using drugs that are not prescribed to them may not know what drugs are in a substance and in what quantity.