Reading Time: < 1 minute

Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


In 2021, 1,280 people died of fentanyl overdose in Wisconsin, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

In 2019, 651 such deaths occurred, marking a 97% increase.

In August, DHS issued a public health advisory about the increase in overdose deaths related to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

“Over the last year, synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, were identified in 91 percent of opioid overdose deaths and 73 percent of all drug overdose deaths,” the DHS advisory stated. 

Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate Derrick Van Orden blames an “open border” with Mexico for the influx. 

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said in a 2020 report that while Mexico is a source of fentanyl, China is the biggest contributor.

“Currently, China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances,” the agency said, either shipping it by consignment or sending fentanyl or its components through the mail. 


Wisconsin Department Of Health Services: DHS Issues Public Health Advisory to Warn of the Risks of Death from Drugs Laced with Fentanyl

Wisconsin Department Of Health Services: Public Health Advisory: Fentanyl Increasingly Present in Overdose Deaths in Wisconsin

Drug Enforcement Administration: Fentanyl Flow to the United States

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Hope Karnopp joined Wisconsin Watch as a reporting intern in May 2022. She is a journalism major and is pursuing certificates in public policy and environmental studies at UW-Madison. Hope previously covered state politics as an intern for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. She also works with the Daily Cardinal and hosts a radio segment about campus news for WORT-FM, which has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club.