Madison, Wisconsin

Targeting and treating individuals with opioid use disorders

Two Madison Police Department officers in city

Podcast on the Madison SPI project: 


Madison Police Patch

Site LE Agency
Madison Police Department

Site Researcher
Aleksandra Zgierska, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin

Site Focus
Prescription Drug Abuse

SPI Strategy
Problem-oriented policing

Site Cohort

Site Profile
Medium urban area of 76.79 sq. miles with a population of 248,951

Project Overview

Dane County (home of the state capital city of Madison) noted a steady increase in opioid-related death rates from 2000 to 2013. In Wisconsin, heroin death counts had stayed stable from 2001-2007, averaging 27 per year, but since then have increased sharply, reaching 267 in 2014. Preliminary evidence suggests that “Strategies for Policing Innovation” approaches that rely on a collaborative community effort, such as the one proposed, have the potential to increase the linkage to treatment for individuals in need of such services; this, in turn, can lead to reduced crime, incarceration and overdose rates. The Madison Police Department (MPD) plans to implement and evaluate an innovative and pilot-tested Strategies for Policing Innovation pre-arrest diversion program entitled “Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative” (MARI).

Data Highlight

  • Opioid-related overdoses and emergency department (ED) visits for the period 2010-2014 almost doubled in Dane County as compared to 2002-2006.
  • In 2014, 84 percent of hospital visits due to opioid poisoning in Madison were attributable to prescription opioids and 16 percent were attributable to heroin.
  • Dane County noted a steady increase in opioid-related death rates from 2000 to 2014.