In The Grip of Heroin: Finding Help

WUWM NEWS SERIES

Resources:

- Wisconsin Department of Justice's Anti-Heroin Campaign

- Informational Brochure from State Justice Department

- Presentation by Department of Justice

- Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator
from Substance & Mental Health Services Administration,
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

- Narcotics Anonymous

Places to Return Unused Medications:

- National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, Saturday, October 26, 2013

- Local Police Stations Collect Unused Medications Year-Round

It may be rare for people seriously affected by substance abuse to get a chance to start over. However, Milwaukee County’s Family Drug Treatment Court is helping families do just that – and has been for several years.

Drug court, veterans court, mental health court… these are just a few examples of the types of specialty, or problem-solving courts, that seek to address specific problems in the justice system on an individual level.

Teran Powell

National Drug Take Back Day has passed, but you can still dispose of your old, unused medication whenever you want in Milwaukee County.

Advocates for ending the opioid crisis in Milwaukee County are ensuring people that they don’t have to solely rely on drug take back events once or twice a year to get rid of their unwanted medications.

Take Back My Meds MKE is the program making that possible.

www.samquinones.com

A report out earlier this month showed a 30% increase in overdoses from opioid use around the country in just the last year.  In Wisconsin, the numbers are even more striking - the state led the nation with a 109% increase in overdoses reported by emergency rooms.

READ: Jump in Overdoses Shows Opioid Epidemic Has Worsened

There's more bad news about the nation's devastating opioid epidemic.

In just one year, overdoses from opioids jumped by about 30 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

DedMityay / Fotolia

Hannah Hetzer is the Senior International Policy Manager for the New York-based Drug Policy Alliance. She joins Lake Effect's Mitch Teich to talk about harm reduction drug policy, a philosophy on public health that focuses on fact-based drug education and intervention policies meant to reduce the injuries and illnesses associated with drug-use.

Hetzer was in Milwaukee to speak about the opioid crisis to UWM’s Institute of World Affairs.

In 2016, the National Institute of Health reported that five percent of high school seniors misuse prescription drugs. In 2016 alone, 827 people in Wisconsin died from prescription opioid overdoses – and another 371 died from heroin overdoses, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Jesse Lee/Marquette University

There have been more than 300 drug-related deaths in Milwaukee County this year.

Dozens of people concerned about the opioid crisis gathered for a discussion about solutions at Marquette University.

Experts at the event say there are many factors that contribute to the growing epidemic. They say the problem isn’t going to go away, but there are tools being used to make significant progress.

Screenshot from Facebook

If the opioid epidemic is a suburban problem, someone forgot to tell Gidget DeLaTorre, 51. She’s lost two close friends to overdoses in the past 10 months and her son sits in prison, after his life spun out of control due to an opioid addiction. All of them grew up on Milwaukee’s South Side.

John Moore/Getty Images

Milwaukee County is taking some big steps in its effort to combat opioid addiction. The county has received grants totaling more than $2.5 million to help boost two programs that help people addicted to opiates get back on their feet.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced the new grants at the Juvenile Justice Center in Wauwatosa. He told the group that gathered that opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions. Abele says the number of deaths is staggering, and it dwarfs just about anything else in history.

Sharyn Morrow, Flickr

Milwaukee County is in the midst of an opioid crisis. City officials and medical professionals say the lack of available funds in Milwaukee County to address substance abuse can be a roadblock to creating effective treatment and education. 

On Thursday, President Donald Trump deemed the opioid crisis as a public health emergency and said that he plans to put a lot of time, effort and money into eliminating the crisis.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

President Trump declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic Thursday, freeing up some resources for treatment. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are currently dealing with the worst drug crisis in American history," Trump said, adding, "it's just been so long in the making. Addressing it will require all of our effort."

"We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic," he said.

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Overdoses from heroin and prescription painkillers are killing thousands of people around the country. In Milwaukee County alone, more than 270 died from drug overdoses in the first eight months of this year. Recently, 11 people passed away over a four-day period. 

A number of efforts have been launched to fight the problem. They include a task force the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County created about six months ago, which seeks to fight the abuse of heroin, opioid painkillers and cocaine.

photos.com

Heroin and opioid addictions -- and overdoses -- continue to plague Wisconsin and many other states. Public health officials and law enforcement agencies have been tackling the problem on a number of fronts.  The latest here in Wisconsin premiered Tuesday night.  It's a documentary produced by WisconsinEye, the state's equivalent to C-Span, and targets children.  

Photos.com

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants longer prison sentences for people who commit federal drug crimes. Late last week, he directed U.S. attorneys to seek the most serious charges possible. Sessions says tough action is needed to address the spike in violence in some cities and the opioid epidemic. Jerome Dillard spent time in both federal and state prison, and is now the Wisconsin director of Expo – Ex-prisoners Organizing. It works to end mass incarceration and help former offenders lead productive lives.

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

In a memo to staff, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to "charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense" — a move that marks a significant reversal of Obama-era policies on low-level drug crimes.

The two-page memo, which was publicly released Friday, lays out a policy of strict enforcement that rolls back the comparatively lenient stance established by Eric Holder, one of Sessions' predecessors under President Barack Obama.

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