MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee County saw more than 5,000 overdoses in 2022 and nearly 500 of those were fatal, according to the city’s overdose dashboard.
That’s why the Greenfield Health Department is working to expand access to Narcan in the area. It’s a part of an ongoing initiative save lives amid the overdose epidemic locally and nationwide.
The department recently added Milwaukee County’s first Narcan vending machine to the Greenfield Police Department’s lobby. It’s one of two pilot programs for the state of Wisconsin.
The vending machine has Narcan kits and fentanyl test strips available at no cost. Anyone in need of these resources can enter the building with no questions asked.
“We are supporting them in wherever they are in the stage in their journey and ensuring they have the tools they need to be as safe as possible,” said Public Health Specialist Lindsay Fuss.
It’s also an effort meant to decrease barriers to accessing harm reduction tools, promote carrying Narcan and fentanyl test strips and decrease stigma surrounding substance abuse reduction efforts.
Maggie Sutton is the case manager with the Greenfield Fire Department. She said there was a need for this vending machine in the area.
“We have seen Narcan, fentanyl test strips and our informational packets flying out of this machine,” said Sutton.
During 2020, there were a total of 70 suspected opioid-related overdoses in Greenfield. In 2021, there were a total of 103 suspected opioid-related overdoses.
“We want our residents to have access to not only Narcan but harm reduction material whenever they need them without question,” said Sutton.
Fuss said all should feel welcome to access these resources and are able to take what they need from the vending machine.
The Greenfield Health Department is a Narcan direct program site, which means they get Narcan free from the state of Wisconsin.