Bad River tribe to provide free, statewide opioid reversal drugs via mail 

According to Wisconsin Public Radio, the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa is partnering with NEXT Distro, an online and mail-based harm reduction platform, to provide free medication via mail to reverse opioid overdoses across Wisconsin.

In recent years, the state has seen a record number of overdose deaths. Wisconsin saw a 900% increase in opioid overdose deaths between 1999–2018. In 2021, the state Department of Health Services reported a record 1,427 opioid overdose deaths; opioids like fentanyl accounted for 91% of these. Numbers from 2022 declined to 1,358 — still up 62% from five years ago.

The tribe is also partnering with nonprofit global public health organization Vital Strategies, working with seven states to strengthen overdose death reduction efforts by aiding with staffing, funding, and technical assistance. Vital Strategies will provide $10 million to partners in Wisconsin over the next three years.

Bad River has also been distributing opioid overdose reversal medication through its harm reduction program to people across rural and tribal communities in northern Wisconsin. Since the tribe began offerring the mail-order service late last year, Vital Strategies data shows 979 orders for the medication have been filled, including 146 in May.

Over half the orders in May came from six counties: Dane, Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Winnebago, Racine, and Outagamie counties.

Requests for the overdose reversal medication can be made through NEXT Distro’s website. Information collected from those requesting medication is kept confidential by the service.