Milwaukee, WI

“HOPE Kits” Initiative Helps to Reduce Economic and Social Costs of Opioid Epidemic

Greta Nunez

Milwaukee has announced a new initiative aimed at combating drug overdoses through the continued distribution of HOPE Kits, which contain life-saving materials and community resources. The Milwaukee Police Department is now a partner in the program, joining the Milwaukee Fire Department and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office.
Milwaukee HOPEPhoto byLanguage Made Visual

What is in a HOPE Kit?

HOPE Kits are distributed throughout the community and are available to anyone who needs them, no questions asked. Each kit contains the following:

  • Two doses of Narcan nasal spray, which is used to reverse an opioid overdose
  • A single-use CPR face shield
  • Two Fentanyl test strips
  • Harm reduction, treatment, and community resource information cards

How does it work?

Narcan nasal spray, which comes in a 2-pack in the HOPE kit, is used to counteract an opioid overdose. It is administered through the nose and blocks the opioid from binding to receptors in the brain. The CPR face shield is used in the event of a cardiac emergency, and the Fentanyl test strips help detect if there are traces of Fentanyl in the drug. The included community resource information cards provide contact information for local organizations offering support for those dealing with addiction and substance abuse.
HOPE KitsPhoto byLanguage Made Visual

The Effectiveness and Efficiency of HOPE Kits

Recent statistics provided by the Milwaukee Overdose Response Initiative (MORI) show that the program has contacted more than 1,200 patients/clients about treatment, with over 50 patients referred to treatment between June 2020 and September 2021. This approach is not only effective in terms of reducing overdose fatalities but also saves taxpayers and the community money in terms of medical and court costs.

HOPE Kits vs. "War on Drugs" Approach

The HOPE Kit approach is in stark contrast to the ineffective and inefficient "war on drugs" approach that has dominated national policy in recent decades. Rather than punishing those struggling with addiction, this program recognizes the importance of reducing the social and financial costs associated with the opioid epidemic. By recognizing that opioid addiction impacts the entire community, it aims to provide early interventions, reduce hospitalizations, and prevent deaths.

The HOPE Kit is a cost-effective approach to help combat the opioid epidemic, unlike the costly and ineffective "war on drugs".

Where to Get a HOPE Kit

HOPE Kits are currently available at Milwaukee Police Districts 2 and 3, where emergency responders receive a high volume of overdose calls.

The Milwaukee Fire Department invites anyone to obtain a HOPE Kit at no cost from any Fire Department without being asked any questions. This proactive initiative by the city of Milwaukee is designed to tackle this public health crisis by recognizing that this serious public health problem impacts the entire community.

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Greta Nunez is a writer who is passionate about taking complex topics and making them accessible to everyone - regardless of background or education level.

New Berlin, WI

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