Sen. Baldwin meets with regional public safety leaders to discuss fentanyl crisis

NOW: Sen. Baldwin meets with regional public safety leaders to discuss fentanyl crisis

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Senator Tammy Baldwin visited Milwaukee on Friday, March 15 to highlight the opioid crisis in Wisconsin, and discuss efforts to combat it.

Baldwin met with police and fire chiefs, first responders, and public health leaders from across the region to talk about their biggest challenges and successes in fighting fentanyl.

"It's an epidemic that doesn't see partisan bounds or geographic lines, and it will take all of us working together in lock step to combat it," Baldwin said Friday.

The senator noted wants further legislation to tackle the opioid epidemic and wants to gain input from public safety leaders.

"Without resources, the response is much more reactive than proactive, and each individual contributing today to the conversation says, we want to be proactive," Baldwin said.

First responders said they need more resources to do that.

Waukesha Police Chief Daniel Thompson said while overdose numbers have remained high in Waukesha County, fentanyl deaths have decreased due to reversal drugs, like Narcan.

"We still need funding to increase Narcan in both our first responders and also in the private sector," Thompson said during Friday's media conference.

Increasing that funding is an effort Baldwin highlighted, as well as going after drug supply chains in China and Mexico and expanding education.

Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski said first responders need more resources to get overdose patients help.

"We have to touch the individual human beings that are gripped with addiction, and we have to get them to resources that can solve the foundational problems," Lipski explained.

First responders there Friday called the meeting productive, noting they have to collaborate on the issue statewide.

"We can do better in our communities, we can make our neighborhoods safer, we can reduce the opioid fentanyl epidemic, but it's got to be together," Chief Thompson said.

Wisconsin saw more than 1,400 overdose deaths in 2022. Data is still in the works for 2023.

Milwaukee Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said his department got more than 200 kilos of fentanyl off the streets last year.

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