Tom Kertscher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analyzed 1,200 fatal overdoses that occurred in the greater Milwaukee area over the past eight years and discovered that the majority of them were prescription drug-related. Kertscher puts the statistics in the context of the high-profile death of a local teenager, one which drew significant media attention to prescription drug abuse in the area.
Of the 1,200 deaths, which do not include suicides, just more than half were caused by prescription drugs.
An additional 19% of the deaths were caused by a mix of pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs, such as heroin.
…The victims of the most potent prescription drugs range from urban teens using anti-anxiety medications to get high to middle-age suburbanites who get hooked on narcotic painkillers after being injured on the job. They include residents of all 19 Milwaukee County communities and suburban county residents from Belgium to Kewaskum to Mukwonago.