Heroin overdose deaths up 80 percent so far in 2018

MADISON (WKOW) — Thirty-eight overdose victims have died in Madison this year through October, compared to 21 a year ago, which is an 81 percent increase, according to a blog post from Police Chief Mike Koval.

Those deaths are part of a 25 percent increase in the number of heroin overdoses in Madison through October of this year compared to the same period a year ago.

There is some good news, though. There was a decrease by about 30 percent in the month of October this year with 25 known overdoses compared to 36 known overdoses in October a year ago.

Through the end of October, the Madison Police Department has been aware of 251 overdoses since the beginning of the year. This is a 26 percent increase year-to-date from 2017, where there were 199 overdoses.

There were four deaths in October that are suspected to be from overdoses and 38 year-to-date.

Officers were able to identify and refer seven individuals to the Madison Addiction Recovery Program in October, according to Koval.

“We are proud and excited about the MARI Outreach Team which made its debut last month.  This team is comprised of a MARI Coordinator (from our Department) and members of the treatment community.  Each week the team makes follow-up visits with overdose subjects and their families, offering services and providing them with Naloxone (and training on how to use),” Koval wrote in his blog.

Koval’s blog post also mentioned Mollie Van Wagner and her struggles with addiction.

Mollie’s dad, Chris Van Wagner, has been a crusader in informing others about the brutal realities of addiction which ultimately led to the untimely death of Mollie.

“Mollie was our department’s first “save” in 2014 and she was also given another chance at life in 2017, thanks to first responders’ quick response and the use of Naloxone,” Koval wrote.

As part of Mollie’s obituary, Chris and family requested that donations be made in Mollie’s name and honor to our department for the purpose of purchasing more Naloxone.

So far, more than $12,600 in donations have been received.

Koval thanked the Van Wagner family, along with their network of friends, family members and all those who were compelled to give after reading about the saga of Mollie and her fight with addictions.

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