Opioid Deaths Increase 300% During 15-Year Span in Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has released data on opioid death and injury.

The study shows drug overdose deaths in Wisconsin increased 300 percent during a 15-year period; there were 246 deaths in 2000 compared to 1,031 deaths in 2016.

“This information can be used by anyone seeking to better understand the scope of Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic and develop strategies for combating opioid misuse and deaths,” stated State Health Officer Karen McKeown in a news release.

Statewide during that time span, more than half of the drug overdose deaths involved prescription opioids. The total number of deaths due to prescription opioids increased 600 percent, from 81 cases in 2000 to 568 in 2016. While death from heroin overdose accounted for 36 percent of all drug overdose deaths, heroin overdose deaths increased 12 times, from 28 deaths in 2000 to 371 deaths in 2016.

Governor Scott Walker created the Task Force on Opioid Abuse in 2016 to address the state’s opioid overdose epidemic.