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Alcoholic beverages

RACINE COUNTY — The City of Racine Public Health Department has released a report on drug- and alcohol-related deaths in the county between 2014 and 2017.

This is the second year the Racine Health Department has compiled this information and released it Thursday to create awareness of the ramifications of substance abuse, according to a Racine Public health Department release.

According to the report entitled “Drug and Alcohol Related Deaths & Naloxone Use — Racine County (2014-2017),” 44 deaths were attributed to alcohol use last year in Racine County.

“It is important to recognize even though alcohol is a legal product for those 21 and older, in Racine County alcohol contributes to more deaths than cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and other street drugs combined,” Dottie-Kay Bowersox, City of Racine Public Health administrator, said in the report.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The fentanyl category was added to the report as a result of the rise in fentanyl-related deaths across the nation.
  • Racine County fentanyl-related deaths increased from two in 2014 to 22 in 2017.
  • There was an increase in deaths due to using a mixture of prescription and street drugs.
  • Deaths due only to heroin use decreased from 2016 to 2017, though heroin-related deaths increased overall for 2017.
  • Deaths due to alcohol use increased in 2017 and continue to be the No. 1 cause of death among those identified in the report.

The impact of fentanyl-related deaths is a national epidemic and Racine County is not immune.

“The number of deaths related to fentanyl in Racine County increased 1000 percent from 2014 to 2017,” said Cody Pearce, epidemiologist at the City of Racine Public Health Department. “This threat is present in the Racine community, and people who inject drugs should be aware.”

Preventive resources

The Health Department has several harm reduction programs available and listed on the department website at www.cityofracine.org/health.

One example is fatal overdose prevention training or Narcan training. This life-saving training is recommended to anyone with a friend or relative who injects drugs. The training is free and available on a walk-in basis during regular health department clinic hours, from 8 to 4:55 p.m. Monday through Friday, at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., in Room 4.

For more information, contact the City of Racine Public Health Department at 262-636-9201.

“In Racine County alcohol contributes to more deaths than cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and other street drugs combined.” Dottie-Kay Bowersox, City of Racine Public Health administrator

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Alyssa Mauk covers breaking news and courts. She enjoys spending time with her family, video games, heavy metal music, watching YouTube videos, comic books and movies.

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