Increase in overdose deaths linked to drugs laced with fentanyl

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), over the past 12 months, synthetic opioids - primarily fentanyl - were identified in 91 percent of opioid overdose deaths and 73 percent of all drug overdose deaths. From 2019 to 2021, the number of fentanyl overdose deaths in the state grew by 97 percent.

Fentanyl is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Because it is cheap to produce, people who manufacture illegal drugs use fentanyl to make other drugs more powerful. It can be added to heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, marijuana, and other substances.

It doesn’t take a lot to cause an overdose. A tiny amount - as little as two grains of salt - can be enough to kill someone. The amount of fentanyl in drugs is random, even in the same supply, so fentanyl test strips are becoming more widely available and people are encouraged to test prior to use.

People who use opioids, whether as a prescribed medication or recreationally, are encouraged to keep naloxone on hand to reverse an opioid overdose. Naloxone is available without a prescription at pharmacies around the state.


For more information, including where to find Naloxone or fentanyl test strips, contact the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline which is staffed by eight 211 contact centers across the state including IMPACT 211. Call 211 or text your zip code to 898211.

WATCH NOW>> Wisconsin health officials warn of increased overdose risk

Need help?

IMPACT conducts free, comprehensive assessments to determine an appropriate level of care, and connects clients to a treatment program and recovery support services. Available in person or over the phone, our Access Point team offers a pleasant and professional experience where clients feel supported, motivated and engaged. For more information, call (414)649-4380.

IMPACT's Access Point is on track to assess

nearly 20% more people in 2022 than last year.

Treatment Outcomes Fuel Optimism

IMPACT Planning and Evaluation partners with several Substance Use Disorder treatment providers in Milwaukee County to evaluate the outcomes of their services. The data we have accumulated over many projects suggests that the treatment available in our community can have a positive impact on people’s lives. Similar to the national data on treatment outcomes, our local data indicates that most clients who participate in treatment show a significant decrease in substance use, substantial improvements in mental health, and positive changes in other areas of their life (e.g., family relationships, legal issues, etc.).

In Memorium

IMPACT honors the unique contributions of Richard (Dick) Theado, who passed away on August 14. From 1984 to 2002, Dick served as Executive Director of the Planning Council for Health and Human Services which merged with IMPACT in 2013. Prior to his retirement, he brought together community stakeholders to advocate and plan for the implementation of a simple way for people to access information and assistance: the 211 hotline.


Dick was instrumental in establishing community consensus for 211, and it was one of his proudest accomplishments. As a result, his family kindly asked that memorial gifts benefit IMPACT to honor his work and celebrate IMPACT 211’s 20th anniversary. “Dick was a masterful planner and facilitator,” said John Hyatt, IMPACT President & CEO. “His primary objective was always to do what was best for the community. He saw the potential of 211 and was able to rally everyone around what was then, a novel and ambitious concept.” 


In addition to his role in establishing 211 and planning other community initiatives, Dick truly embodied the concept of servant leadership. His mentorship, humor, and caring spirit will be missed.

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