Overdose deaths: Milwaukee groups hold harm reduction drive-thru

More people in Wisconsin are dying young, with one new report showing people are now more likely to die in their 20s, 30s or 40s.

Samad's House, a sober living home for women, partnered with other Milwaukee-based nonprofits for a harm reduction drive-thru Saturday, Feb. 11. 

Advocates, like Tahira Malik, are getting out and giving out resources that could save a life.

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"You have to be out in the forefront," said Malik, founder and chief operations officer of Samad's House. "This is really personal because I’ve lost so many family members, I’ve lost so many friends, to drug overdose.  

"We’re standing here to say hey we can help, we have resources, and we can’t continue to lose you."

Samad's House

The new Wisconsin Policy Forum report shows people are more likely to die in their 20s, 30s or 40s partly due to COVID-19 – but an even larger driver is deadly overdoses that disproportionately impact Black residents.

"In Milwaukee County, 80% of the fatal overdoses are attributed to fentanyl being in those drugs," Malik said.

Advocates said it is important to give out fentanyl test strips, the opioid overdose-reversing drug Naloxone and knowledge.

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"Just to reduce the stigma. We need to be in the forefront," said Amanda De Leon with Community Medical Services. "The more education and the more we can bring awareness and reducing that stigma, we will see less people dying of opioid use."

It is a cause that advocates say they cannot let slip into the background.

"We have to combat it together. We’re losing way too many people here," Malik said.

Overdose harm reduction drive-thru event in Milwaukee

If you need more information, there are resources available online:

The Wisconsin Policy Forum report said death rates for people over age 65 have decreased in the last two decades.