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Officer: 'Heroin epidemic is getting worse' in Madison

(NBC15)
Published: Jun. 26, 2018 at 5:52 PM CDT
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Eleven overdose deaths were reported in Madison, Wis. since May 31, 2018, according to Madison Police Officer Bernie Albright said.

"We’re averaging more than one overdoses per day, Albright said. "Through June 25, there have been 34 overdoses of just what the city of Madison Police Department knows about."

Albright said it's hard to quantify how many overdoses are happening, especially since Naloxone is now available over the counter in Wisconsin.

"I’m fairly confident there are saves happening out there in the community that people are doing themselves," Albright said. "The fire and police department are not involved in or have knowledge of."

"There are still a lot of people who have no idea it’s going on. Whether that’s stolen cars, shots fired, stolen guns or gang problems, if it’s not happening in their back yard, or happening in front of them or happening to one of their loved ones, they may not know anything about it," Albright said. "If you’re not affected by addiction, you may not have an idea of this problem in the community and how it’s getting so much worse."

Albright works in the criminal intelligence division and coordinates the Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative (MARI).

MARI is a three-year, grant funded pre-arrest diversion program.

MARI is focused on jump starting treatment for opiate offenders, according the the program's website.