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RACINE COUNTY — The Racine County Public Health and the City of Racine Public Health Department have issued a Drug Overdose Alert for Racine County as of May 8. The alert follows an increase in suspected opioid drug overdoses in Racine County.

suspected drug overdose opioid activity alert
Credit: Racine County

Additionally, Racine County is seeing consistent reports of fentanyl being mixed with heroin, cocaine, and pressed pills, per a release issued by Racine County. Racine County Human Services also confirmed that fentanyl has been found in marijuana within Racine County as well. Likewise, xylazine is being mixed with drugs. It is important for people to know that Narcan will not work to reverse an overdose of xylazine, as it is not an opioid.

Increase in overdoses

According to Racine County, from April 30 to May 6 there were four reports of suspected opioid drug overdoses have been seen at hospital emergency departments.

In addition, compared to last year, there has been a 261% increase in suspected opioid overdoses. In 2023 so far, there have been 73 suspected opioid overdoses.

Preventing overdoses

People who use drugs can prevent an overdose death by:

  • Carry Narcan and tell others where it is stored
  • Use fentanyl test strips
  • Never using drugs alone.
  • Avoid mixing drugs (i.e. heroin and alcohol)

Assist during an overdose

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Administer Narcan (one dose every 2-3 minutes).
  • Provide rescue breaths and chest compressions (CPR)
  • Keep the person awake and breathing.
  • Lie the person on their side (recovery position).
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
    • If medical assistance is refused after an overdose, stay with the person for at least four hours. Overdose can resume after Narcan wears off.


Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is approved for treating patients with chronic severe pain from illnesses such as advanced cancer, or severe pain after surgery.

A Schedule II controlled substance, it is similar to morphine but 80–100 times more potent. Fentanyl overdoses that lead to death can come from an amount small enough to fit on the tip of a pencil.


Xylazine (also known by its street name, “Tranq”) is not an opiate. It is a sedative, analgesic (pain reliever), and muscle relaxant that is only authorized in the United States for veterinary use, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

It has been increasingly found mixed with fentanyl and other drugs as it is much less expensive and makes certain effects last longer which is attractive to a number of users.

This drug is a known central nervous system depressant. This means that it can drastically slow the rate at which a person’s heart beats or draws breath, among the many other functions controlled by the central nervous system.

Those addicted to xylazine can experience withdrawal symptoms such as sharp chest pains and seizures.

Free Narcan and Fentanyl test strips available

Narcan and Fentanyl test strips are available for free in Racine County and across the state of Wisconsin.

Find these products in Racine at:

  • City of Racine Public Health Department, 730 Washington Ave., Room 4, Racine, WI 53403
  • Behavioral Health Services of Racine County, 1717 Taylor Ave., Racine, WI 53403

In addition, find more locations where Narcan and Fentanyl are available by using the Department of Wisconsin Health Service’s website.

Learn more

Fentanyl and other drugs have been a problem in Southeastern Wisconsin for years. The following articles show different aspects of the drug crisis in the area, including prevention, public services, and information on how deadly overdoses can be.

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