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As I See It

Rising overdose deaths show new strategy needed

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The numbers are becoming impossible to ignore. Overdose deaths, already on the rise in recent years, are spiking to unfathomable levels. It seems to be happening everywhere. In Wisconsin drug overdose deaths spiked by 25 percent last year and will likely set another record last year. This problem is not isolated to any community or class. La Crosse County reported 40 drug overdose deaths in 2020, a record high. Nationwide, 2020 was the deadliest year for overdose deaths since tracking began in 1968. 90,000 people in the U.S. died last year from an overdose.  This is despite the fact that more resources than ever are being employed to address the problem. Emergency responders now routinely carry anti-overdose drugs and have to use them routinely. Who knows how many more would have died without the efforts and tools of those working to save them? We have strengthened laws and provided additional resources, but the numbers keep climbing. Self-isolation during the pandemic likely played a role, with fentanyl the drug causing a majority of the overdoses. It is not clear what the answer is, but if we work harder but make no progress, that should sound some alarm bells that what we are doing isn’t really working.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Kent Porter

    July 19, 2021 at 10:24 am

    I have an idea Scott ; stop the illegals from coming through the southern boarder with back packs full of fentyenal and heroin , that might help the increase in overdose deaths !!!!!! Kent / The mayor of the North Side

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