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Milwaukee Overdose Response Initiative Project

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,200,000)

The City of Milwaukee, with an estimated population of 590,157, leads Wisconsin cities in the count and rate of overdose deaths. To illustrate, in 2019, the fatal overdose rate in the City of Milwaukee was 70.3 per 100,000, more than three times the Wisconsin rate of 20.4 per 100,000. Between 2016 and 2020, African American fatal overdoses have increased by 103%. The high rate of overdose fatalities places a burden on community members and agencies, including first responders.

The Milwaukee Fire Department aims to sustain and grow the city’s only first responder program linking overdose survivors with treatment and recovery services, the Milwaukee Overdose Response Initiative (MORI). The City of Milwaukee and collaborating partners are seeking $1,200,000 in Subcategory 1a funding to support MORI.

MORI continuously collects and analyzes available EMS and dispatch data on all fatal and non-fatal overdoses in the city, using the data to deploy strategic outreach by the MORI Team, which at all times includes both Community Paramedics and Certified Peer Support Specialists. The MORI project aims to:

Increase access to evidence-based/MAT treatment and recovery services for an estimated 1,650 people per year. 100% of nonfatal opioid overdose patients who have had contact with Milwaukee EMS will be identified and attempted to be reached through daily deployments of the MORI team.
100% of MORI’s attempts to engage identified patients will include both community paramedic and peer support.
Refer patients to treatment (est. 75 per year) with a “warm hand-off” connection and peer support.
Increase access to harm reduction materials including naloxone, as well as other supportive resources, to patients and family/friends.
Increase coordination across agencies by supporting collaborative strategies.

This proposal would expand upon the existing MORI Team in the City of Milwaukee, formalizing evaluation support received from the Medical College of Wisconsin as well as the participation of peer support specialists from three agencies: WisHope, Community Medical Services, and CleanSlate. MORI will increase its collaborative partners, its alignment with mental health-related resources, and its data collection and analysis capacity. This project ensures that the Milwaukee Fire Department never ignores its extraordinary data access which enables attempting to track down every overdose survivor with EMS contact, and ensures that no overdose survivor is left alone in a dangerous cycle of being revived but with no resources on how to make safer choices, recover, and avoid future overdoses.

Date Created: December 21, 2021