Health

Medical Examiner’s Son Dead of Overdose

Saddest indication yet that few families in America are untouched by this horrible epidemic

In a tragic turn of events, one of the people charged with taking care of the most lethal cases of overdose in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, now faces great loss within his own family.

Milwaukee County Coroner Brian Peterson announced Thursday that his son was among the 70 people who have died from probable drug overdose over the past seven weeks in Milwaukee County.

“No family is immune,” said one Wisconsin legislator after the death of a county coroner’s son.

Adam Peterson, 29, died Monday at a friend’s apartment, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The medical examiner’s report said Peterson had a history of drug use and was believed to be homeless when he died.

“I was sitting at the same table as Brian two weeks ago in Milwaukee discussing the trail of tragedies and heartbreak that addiction leaves in its wake,” U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson told the Journal Sentinel. “No family is immune. My prayers go out to Brian and his family at this time. I will continue to fight this fight for all those who have lost loved ones.”

The number of homicides, motor vehicle, and infant sleep-related deaths combined don’t add up to the number of overdoses authorities have seen in Milwaukee County, according to the chief medical examiner.

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Peterson, the county’s medical examiner since 2008, asked for privacy for his family. A spokesman for the Milwaukee Police Department told LifeZette that an investigation into the death is ongoing.

Related: The Risky Game Your Teen Could Be Playing

The number of deaths reported in nearly every community across the nation continues to rise as public health officials, law enforcement, federal legislators, and everyone on down to local leaders and family advocates try to find a way to stem the tide of drug use, abuse, and loss.

In Massachusetts, new data this week indicates that more than a quarter of all fatalities recorded in the state for people ages 18 to 24 were caused by opioids. In the state of Colorado, students at Durango High School this week learned that the opioid-related death rate is double the rate of deaths in motor vehicle crashes. Within their county alone — La Plata County — there have been 13 suicides in the last 12 months, and more than half of them were related to drug overdoses, The Durango Herald reported.

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