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

White drug users addicted to heroin, fentanyl and other opioids have had near exclusive access to buprenorphine, a drug that curbs the craving for opioids and reduces the chance of a fatal overdose. That's according to a study out Wednesday from the University of Michigan.

In his very first address from the Oval Office, President George H.W. Bush looked into the camera and held up a clear plastic baggie of chalky, white chunks.

“This is crack cocaine, seized a few days ago by drug enforcement agents in a park just across the street from the White House,” he said. “It’s as innocent looking as candy, but it’s turning our cities into battle zones.”

Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth / U.S. Air Force

There are dozens of names for the substances known as synthetic marijuana/cannabinoids, like K2, Spice, or simply, Fake Weed. But in actuality, these drugs bear little resemblance to the marijuana most are familiar with and their impact can be devastating.

"Smoking K2 can lead to unpredictable and severe, or even life-threatening, effects," says Tiffinie Cobb, the substance abuse and injury prevention manager with the Milwaukee Health Department. 

Nic Sheff began using drugs at a young age and was able to conceal his use for much of his adolescence, until his addiction overtook his life. His father, David Sheff, decided to learn everything he could about addiction, as a way of healing himself and his son.

Victor Moussa/fotolia

Recommendations from a Milwaukee city-county committee that's trying to reduce the opioid crisis were announced Friday during a meeting at Milwaukee City Hall.

The ideas come as the number of local opioid-related deaths is down a little this year but is still a sizable problem.

Florida is suing pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS over their role in what the state calls "unconscionable efforts to increase the demand and supply of opioids into Florida."

State Attorney General Pam Bondi's office announced Friday that it had added the two companies to a lawsuit filed in May against opioid distributors and manufacturers — including OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, Percocet-maker Endo Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceutical, which is one of the world's largest generic-drug manufacturers.

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.

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