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The Next Wave of the Opioid Epidemic Is Killing Black Men

NINE MEN, ALL OF THEM BLACK, gathered at Gateway to Change in early May, when I first visited the gray-and-tan-painted drug-treatment center that is planted next to a bustling corner grocery store on the north side of Milwaukee. Much of their talk was about a man who was no longer there and whose fate could be any of theirs.

Michael C. Williams had been born in South Bend, Indiana, before moving here as a child. When times were good, he worked as a home health aide. But he also, for years, battled drug and alcohol addiction that ultimately contributed to a number of criminal charges, a few stints in jail, and two stays at Gateway’s rehab program.

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