Heroin Explosion in Brown County

Published 07/25 2014 05:22AM

Updated 07/25 2014 12:04PM

GREEN BAY, Wisc. (WFRV) It's lurking in our neighborhoods and creating a drastic increase in crime. 

Now Brown County is set to tackle the heroin problem with its first ever heroin court. 

The issue has become a community wide health problem. According to Brown County Judge Donald Zuidmulder, the common targets--your neighbor, church-goer, even fellow co-worker. 

"The thing that we've found is that the heroin explosion is really the result of the overprescription of Vicodin, Oxycontin through no intention but it has happened," Judge Zuidmulder says. "Then when these people are taken off of these opiates, they have no alternative. They're still addicted. So then what happens is they begin to use heroin."

Heroin is affecting every area of the state, from the big cities to the smaller towns.

Brown County's heroin court is being designed with public safety in mind.  

"We have started to see some full scale distribution chains move into the area as well, so certainly I think the use is on the uptick and we haven't gotten in front of it yet, but we're making every effort that we can to be proactive," Brown County District Attorney David Lasee told Local 5's Wendy Fleury.

Participants in the post conviction court would begin immediate treatment for detox, then a further program to stop the use of heroin.

"Part of what's happening is that these people, when they're immediately released from jail and they have no treatment at all, they tend to fall right back into the use of heroin before we can even get them into the program and of course that's very grim for us and very sad," Judge Zuidmulder added.

Statistics show the recidivism rate for those addicts coming out of jail, with no treatment at all, are 80% likely to go back to the drug. However, those going through drug treatment are only 25%-30% likely to reuse.

Money used to fund the program will come from taxpayer dollars, as well as a state grant.

"This is not a coddling program. This is not a 'be nice to people'. This is using those dollars and those resources to get the best result which is to create a crime-free community with positive citizens. That's what this is all about in my view," Judge Zuidmulder said. 

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