April 24, 2014

State ramping up efforts to fight heroin use

Over the past eight years, Wisconsin has a seen a growing trend of heroin abuse in all corners of the state. Between 2005 and 2013, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says the number of counties contacting the state crime lab about heroin-related cases jumped from 22 to 56.

Van Hollen says too many people don’t understand the dangers posed by the drug, and he’s hopeful a series of grants and a new ad campaign will help the state gain some ground on combatting heroin use.

The DOJ unveiled a new statewide and online ad campaign Wednesday in Madison, titled “The Fly Effect.” Much like the nursery rhyme about the old woman who swallowed a fly, it’s meant to show how heroin use can spiral out of control, destroying the life of a user and hurting those around them.

AUDIO: J.B. Van Hollen (:10)

The ad campaign will include TV and radio spots, along with a heavy online component and YouTube videos.

The DOJ is also in the process of rolling out several grants to communities across Wisconsin, which will target treatment and prevention programs. Van Hollen says the goal of the grant program is to encourage local officials to explore alternative methods of dealing with heroin, with the hope of finding an effective strategy that can be implemented statewide.

One $25,000 grant was announced Wednesday in Madison. The money will be used to develop an anti-heroin information campaign in Madison schools. The DOJ had additional grant announcements planned for across the state on Thursday.