Dane County to allocate $750,000 towards opiate and fentanyl death prevention efforts

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 4:24 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dane County announced Friday a $750,000 emergency initiative aimed at addressing opiate and fentanyl epidemics.

The Harm Reduction and Prevention Act will help distribute fentanyl testing strips and Narcan kits and will aim to increase awareness about the deadly epidemic, according to Dane County Executive Joe Parisi.

“Just one pill laced with fentanyl or another synthetic opiate can take the life of a friend or loved one,” Parisi said. “Our community must act.”

Opiate and fentanyl related deaths have increased in Dane County in the past six years. In 2021, 149 people in Dane County died from opiate-related overdoses — reflecting 86% of the county’s total overdoses. Fentanyl was a contributing factor in more than three-quarters of the county’s overdose deaths in 2021, according to the Dane County Executive’s Office.

The $750,000 emergency initiative is an addition to the nearly $1.6 million the county is currently allocating towards opiate treatment, prevention and recovery efforts.

The newest funding will go to community outreach efforts and will allow various community outreach groups to buy med lock boxes, Narcan and/or fentanyl test strips. Funding will also go towards school life skills/harm reduction curriculum and creating prevention specialist positions in the county.

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