Health care workers say drug overdose is the leading cause of preventable, unintentional death in the U.S.
On Tuesday, a meeting featured three local hospitals, along with Prevea Health, Eau Claire Fire Rescue and the Police Department to discuss the issue.
The goal was to understand the underlying issues of the opioid epidemic and find a way to work together to combat it.
McKenzie Liegel works at the Eau Claire City-County Health Department. She says opioids are becoming a huge issue in the Chippewa Valley.
“We just want the community to recognize that opioids are a problem,” said Liegel. “They don’t discriminate. Rich, poor, young, old; opioids can affect our community and they are. Opioids are actually taking lives.”
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 839 people died in Wisconsin in 2018 due to opioids.
The state is on pace for more than 600 opioid related deaths in 2019, according to the most recent data available.