ROCK COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV) – The Rock County Department of Public Health is raising awareness of the growing number of drug-related deaths involving a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl.
The department said fentanyl use is a growing cause of death in Rock County and has become the leading cause of drug-related deaths in recent years.
“Right now, cocaine is the number one controlled substance with fentanyl,” said Lt. Mike Blaser of the Janesville Police Department.
Data from the Rock County Department of Public Health shows that in 2021, 26% of drug-related deaths involved both fentanyl and cocaine. In the first five months of 2022, 48% of drug-related deaths involved the two drugs.
Rock County Public Health said fentanyl can be laced with cocaine or used concurrently, and often, the user doesn’t know the fentanyl is there. This can lead to fentanyl poisoning or death, and it only takes a small amount to overdose. The substance has also been found in other drugs and medications, the department said.
The department recommends that anyone who buys or uses illegal drugs assume that their drug contains fentanyl and take precautions. Precautions should include not using alone, keeping Narcan close at hand, and testing drugs for fentanyl before use.
The Rock County Department of Public Health received a grant from the National Association of County and City Health Officials to address opioid overdoses in Rock County. From the grant, Rock County will implement new initiatives including an improved substance abuse data table, an overdose alert system, awareness campaigns, anti-stigma training and post-overdose resource kits.
After seeing the most drug-involved deaths in recorded history in 2021 in Rock County, Rock County is encouraging anyone who is or knows someone who is struggling with addiction to seek treatment.
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