“The scope and impact of this issue is really immense,” Dr. Ben Weston, chief health policy advisor for Milwaukee County and medical services director of its Office of Emergency Services, said during a virtual briefing Tuesday.
Milwaukee County has seen a rise in overdose deaths involving xylazine, a powerful animal tranquilizer. Last year the county saw at least 51 deaths involving xylazine and the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
In March, Gov. Tony Evers (D) responded to the rising number of fentanyl overdoses in Wisconsin by passing legislation that would ensure free fentanyl test strips to be made readily accessible to residents.