Skip to content ↓
Press Room

Samad’s House to Provide Narcan and Other Harm Reduction Resources During Milwaukee’s 52nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration

As overdose deaths continue to soar in Milwaukee, Juneteenth marks a critical opportunity to bring overdose prevention to Black communities

June 19, 2024 (MILWAUKEE, WI)—More than 107,000 people in the United States died of a drug overdose in 2023, according to provisional data released by the CDC. Wisconsin alone has experienced a staggering 1200% increase in opioid-involved overdose deaths from 2000 to 2022, and in 2022 the overdose mortality rate in Wisconsin for Black individuals was more than triple the national rate. 

To combat the overdose crisis in the Milwaukee area, grassroots harm reduction and recovery organization Samad’s House, with support from public health organization Vital Strategies, will be offering overdose prevention education during Milwaukee’s 52nd annual Juneteenth Celebration. Juneteenth is a day that commemorates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. 

Press Opportunities:

Samad’s House will be tabling at the Juneteenth Celebration Street Festival from 9am to 4pm, where community members can receive overdose prevention education and information about the upcoming training. Tahira Malik will be available to speak with media members before, during, and after the event.

At the festival, Samad’s House will share information about opioids, overdose awareness, harm reduction resources in Milwaukee, and how to access naloxone (commonly known by the brand name Narcan). Moreover, Samad’s House will provide free training on how to use Narcan, a life-saving opioid reversal medication, during the event. Festival attendees will be able to receive free Narcan when visiting Samad’s House’s booth. 

“Milwaukee County has seen over 137 drug overdose deaths from January to May of this year alone, with 100 of the drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl. Samad’s House is committed to providing awareness and education to the community on the importance of always having Narcan present to save a life,” said Tahira Malik, the Founder and Chief Operations Officer of Samad’s House. “This Juneteenth event is an opportunity to reduce the stigma of addiction by educating festival-goers on recognizing the signs of an opioid overdose, reversing its effects using Narcan nasal spray, and using fentanyl testing strips. We are committed to continually normalizing the conversation on addiction and harm reduction practices.”

In addition to providing Narcan at the Juneteenth event, Samad’s House will have other overdose prevention and harm  reduction resources available, including fentanyl test strips. They will also be providing community members with personal protective equipment if desired, as well as information about accessible and local health care services to support people who use drugs and those with substance use disorders.  

“Black communities in Wisconsin have been disproportionately impacted by the overdose crisis and have had the least amount of access to harm reduction resources to help them stay alive,” said Adrienne Hurst, Senior Technical Advisor for the Overdose Prevention Program at Vital Strategies. “Samad’s House is playing a crucial role in identifying and providing harm reduction interventions and messages needed to reduce overdose deaths. Vital Strategies urges decision-makers to further invest in Milwaukee’s Black neighborhoods to end overdose.”

The Juneteenth event is part of ongoing efforts to make overdose prevention education and harm reduction interventions more accessible in Milwaukee communities. In February 2024, Samad’s House hosted a Better Ways To Cope Harm Reduction Drive-Through, during which community members received free harm reduction supplies, as well as basic health services. Additionally, in late 2022, Samad’s House worked with partners to install Nalox-ZONE boxes in local business establishments in the 53206 area code of Milwaukee County, including gas stations, restaurants and bars.

In late 2023, Vital Strategies, the City of Milwaukee Office of African American Affairs, and Samad’s House teamed up with three Milwaukee area radio stations to launch a local campaign to highlight on how the overdose crisis is disproportionately affecting Black neighborhoods in Milwaukee, and to encourage community members to have open and honest conversations about drug use and overdose.

People wanting to learn more about opioids, prevention of opioid use disorder, and treatment and  recovery should visit the website Dose of Reality, a joint effort between the Wisconsin Department of Human Services and the Wisconsin Department of Justice to end Wisconsin’s overdose crisis. 

About Samad’s House 

Samad’s House is a sober living home for women recovering from opioid addiction and/or substance misuse. Samad’s House is a solution-based harm reduction agency. We bring awareness to the perils of substance misuse by providing educational awareness by training on the proper use of naloxone and fentanyl test strips. 

To learn more details on how you can support Samad’s House please visit 

About Vital Strategies       

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our overdose prevention program works to strengthen and scale evidence-based, data-driven policies and interventions to create equitable and sustainable reductions in overdose deaths. Work across seven U.S. States is supported by funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Overdose Prevention Initiative, launched in 2018, and by targeted investments from other partners.     

Learn more here.