Updated: Sep 13, 2022
We lost Cade on 11.4.21 in his dorm at UW Milwaukee from a fentanyl poisoning. Cade took what he thought was a prescription Percocet pill, but it turned out to be a fake pill that was 100% fentanyl. Shortly after losing Cade, another grieving mom, Erin Rachwal, reached out to me. We quickly realized that her son Logan passed away in the SAME dorm - Sandburg Hall - from a fentanyl laced pill 9 months prior on 2.14.21. I decided we needed to go right to the top and get a meeting with then Interim UW System President Tommy Thompson to request an awareness campaign and Narcan Rescue Kits installed in all dorms.
Thanks to help from my new friend and fellow grieving father, Charles Tubbs (his son CJ was poisoned by fentanyl in marijuana in 2019), and my friend Tonya Schmidt, who is Cade's friend Syd's mom and works in the UW Madison Dean of Students Office, we were able to arrange a meeting with Tommy Thompson. Erin, her husband Rick and I held a zoom meeting with him and his staff in January, 2022. Gov Thompson was very sympathetic and agreed that if Narcan would save one life, it would be worth it. On March 10th, he sent a letter to all UW System Chancellors strongly encouraging them to install Narcan rescue kits and participate in an updated educational campaign for students about fake pills and fentanyl! Read the memo below. Erin and I relentlessly folllowed up with UW-Milwaukee asking them to get these installed as soon as possible as well as put up posters warning students about deadly fentanyl in fake pills and all illicit drugs.
On August 9th, 2022, UW-Milwaukee Installed their Narcan Rescue Kits and it is our understanding that all UW campuses now have the installation process underway!
Additionally, UW-Milwaukee has updated education and tools as a result of Cade and Logan's tragic deaths. They recently provided us with the following list of changes being made starting in the fall of 2022 as well as the poster below that will be put up around campus.
All students living in the residence halls need to attend an hour long session ‘Real Talk: How to Thrive in Your Community,’ in order to receive guest passes. As of 9/13/22, over 1,000 residential students have participated. They learn about the availability of Narcan on campus, signs of overdose, how to respond, and amnesty policies. Each participant receives a Save a Life magnet – photo below.
WTMJ 4 Milwaukee | August 22, 2022 | Parents of UWM students who overdosed on campus applaud installation of Narcan Kits
WISN Milwaukee | August 22, 2022 | UW Milwaukee installs Narcan boxes across campus
CBS 58 Milwaukee | August 22, 2022 | UWM campuses install Narcan boxes, hope to help with Fentanyl-related overdoses
WUMW Milwaukee's NPR | August 23, 2022 | Following deaths of two students from fentanyl in 2021, UWM makes Narcan available on campus
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | August 24, 2022 | After the deaths of 2 UWM students, UW campuses make Narcan more widely available