As the opioid epidemic continues to grows... lawmakers, leaders, and lawyers are taking action.
Just this week... the attorney general said he would support local governments like dane county... that are suing major pharmaceutical companies.
And yesterday on capitol hill... a house panel started talking about a new series of bills aimed at limiting opioid use and increasing access to treatment.
News 3's brittany paris is live outside the dane county jail... with more on what law enforcement is doing to fight the trend.
Good morning, brittany.
The opioid epidemic has gotten to the point where all dane county deputies now carry narcan, a drug which can reverse an overdose.
Just last week, deputies saved a 29-year-old inmate here at the jail after she was found unresponsive.
They needed three doses to revive her and are now looking into how she got the drugs.
Madison police say already in 2018 they've responded to 38 opioid overdoses and five people have died.
From 2016 to 2017, overdose deaths increased 240 percent.
Police are attributing the increase in death rates to fentanyl... an opiate that's 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
They say their traditional dose of narcan isn't working... and they're having to use up to five doses before a person comes out of their overdose.
Officer dan swanson, special investigations unit ((("09:42:23:24 "in those cases where there's mulitple deployments of narcan, luckily there's multiple officers on scene and you have one person literally on the ground administering narcan and the other officers are handing over their narcan just down the line and they just keep giving it until fire rescue gets there."
09:42:38:04"))) so to help fight this epidemic, police are changing the way they respond... through the madison addiction recovery initiative, known as mari.
Instead of arresting a person and hoping court- ordered treatment works... they can enter a voluntary six month treatment program.
If they complete it, the charges are dropped.
Since september, when police started mari... 40 people have been referred to treatment and about half of them are still in it.