This month, Milwaukee medical examiner Brian Peterson tried to give those gathered at a round-table discussion on opioids a sense of the scale of drug-related deaths. While homicides, motor vehicle and infant sleep-related deaths have loomed large in the news, he said, when all three are added together, “that’s less than the number of overdoses we’ve had.” Yesterday, Peterson’s office announced that 70 people have died from probable drug overdoses in Milwaukee County in seven weeks. One of them was Peterson’s son, Adam, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He had a history of drug use and was believed to be homeless when he died.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who hosted the round-table discussion, said: “I was sitting at the same table as Brian two weeks ago in Milwaukee discussing the trail of tragedies and heartbreak that addiction leaves in its wake. No family is immune.” In a messenger-style bag that belonged to Adam Peterson, investigators found a plastic bag that contained topiramate, which is a nerve pain and anticonvulsant medication, and citalopram, which is used to treat depression. At the discussion hosted by Johnson, Brian Peterson said that one out of three cases autopsied in one month this year were overdose cases. The ages of the dead spanned “63 years or so at the high end, down to 1 year old,” he said.