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Overdose, suicide deaths in Dane County surpass 700 since 2016

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MADISON, Wis. - In Dane County, 714 people have died by overdose or suicide since 2016, according to data from the Dane County Medical Examiner's Office.

A news release from the Dane County Executive's Office said over 84% of the overdoses were the result of opiates. This year alone, Dane County's emergency medical services have responded to 526 overdose calls.

The figures were recorded from January 2016 to August 2019. In that same period of time, 133 people died from traffic crashes.

“Suicides and overdoses are far and away the leading causes of unnecessary death in this county," County Executive Joe Parisi said. "They’re affecting all ages, communities, races and genders, and it is imperative this community come together and put our energy and resources into solutions. Over 700 people have died unnecessarily in just a few years. Hundreds of others are having close calls and remain with us thanks to the quick thinking and use of Narcan and important treatment efforts.”

Parisi released the data during a training at the Dane County Human Services Department's South Madison office. More than 150 Dane County Human Services employees have received naloxone, as well as training on how to administer it.

“Our Human Services workers are on the front lines every day, working directly with families in homes and neighborhoods across the community,” Human Services Director Shawn Tessman said.

The release said the county executive's 2020 budget adds $2.2 million in new mental health and addiction resources for schools and community centers.

The budget also includes funding for the C.J. Tubbs Fund for Hope, Healing and Recovery, which is named after the son of Dane County Emergency Management Director Charles Tubbs. Tubbs' son died from an accidental overdose this summer.