Milwaukee Community Leaders Unite to Address Local Opioid Epidemic

More than 200 community advocates gathered at the "Key Influencers Summit: Addressing Milwaukee’s Opioid Epidemic" Wednesday in Milwaukee. The event, hosted by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and CADCA, was an integral component of the DEA’s 360 Strategy, which launched in Milwaukee earlier this year.

The summit united community leaders to focus on key sectors, which are critical in influencing behavior change: faith, families, education, law enforcement, and the healthcare continuum. Attendees gained in-depth insights on the national and local opioid landscape and develop tangible strategies targeted at the issue that they can implement within their sphere of influence.

Speakers and small-group facilitators included Dennis Wichern, Special Agent in Charge, DEA, Chicago Field Division; Neil Doherty, Associate Deputy Assistant Administrator, DEA; Sean Fearns, Chief, Community Outreach, DEA; Robert Bell, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, DEA, Milwaukee District Office; Carlton Hall, Deputy Director, Training and Technical Assistance, CADCA; Katie Sanders, Executive Director, Safe & Sound; and Kari Lerch, Deputy Director, Community Advocates Public Policy Institute

"One of the takeaways is that law enforcement certainly can't do this on its own," Sanders told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Prevention needs to be part of any strategy that targets opioid and heroin abuse. We need all hands on deck. Everyone has something to add, whether you're a parent or teacher or student or law enforcement."