Heroin use in Walworth County on gradual rise

Oct. 8, 2014

By Shyanne Skinner

By Emily Leclair


Walworth County District Attorny, Dan Necci, and Walworth County Judge, David Reddy are traveling to local schools to share the truth of the effects of heroin and addiction with students and adults.

“Heroin is an epidemic that has not only entered large cities, but it’s also come into small towns just like Whitewater,” said UW-Whitewater Police Detective Cal Servi.

Going to the seminars can help raise awareness and help stop heroin as an epidemic in small towns and large cities, according to Servi.

Necci, the next speaker, provided facts about heroin users.

“The average first time user of heroin is between the ages of 18 to 20 years of age and the most predominant user is a white male, age 21 to 35,” Necci said.

These facts are based off 2012 Waukesha and Walworth County statistics.

Necci said maybe in the old days heroin was something reserved for junkies and rock stars, but not any longer.

Heroin has found its way into quiet communities such as Whitewater, and on to rule suburban and urban areas, to the rich and poor neighborhoods and schools.

The Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services reported deaths from heroin increased 201 percent from 2008 to 2012 and the unintended consequences are 26 percent of new heroin users are those who switched over from recreational controlled prescription opiates. The most common opiates are prescribed drugs such as: oxytocin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, vicodin, and morphine.

Individuals can use  a three pronged approach to help stop heroin use, Necci says.

The first is to educate the community. The second is to enforce the rules. And the third is treatment to users. With this approach a community can try to stop the amount of overdose deaths caused by heroin.

Law Enforcment Officer Chris Kohl was next to present and explained the facts of heroin addiction.

Kohl detailed how marijuana is not as harmless as many people might believe.

“One in six people who start using marijuana as adolescents become addicted,” Kohl said. “Many more move on to drugs that kill 3,200 Americans monthly by overdose.”

Heroin seizures at the Southwest border increased 232 percent from 2008 to 2012 according to Kohl.

Heroin has become three  times more potent. The cost of heroin has dropped 25 percent over the last 30 years and as a direct result of the increased demand, drug trafficking organizations are seizing the moment to supply the country with the heroin that society seeks more and more.

The signs of addiction are easy to notice: bent spoons with burn marks, hypodermic needles and syringes, rubber tubing or long lengths of plastic, track marks, folded and burned pieces of tin foil and wearing long sleeves even in the hottest of weather are all indicators of heroin use, according to the Department of Justice.

The emotional signs can be much harder to recognize.

They include: periods of extreme euphoria followed by extreme depression, sedated or unkempt appearance and dramatic weight loss.

The family of Cody Krueger shared the story of losing their son to a heroin overdose.

Jamie Krueger, Cody’s father, said his son was a fun loving, happy kid.

“Cody was the joy of my life, he enjoyed hunting and fishing, skiing, kayaking, and four wheeling,” said Jamie Krueger. “If there was fun to be had, he had it. We did all these things as father and son.”

At the age of 19, Cody Krueger started using heroin. His parents noticed he had become quiet and withdrawn. They also noticed he had lost his very close friends.

It was strange to his parents, who knew Cody Krueger cherished all of his friends, but they didn’t want to deal with someone who was using heroin.

Cody Krueger was upfront about his addiction and they had tried different approaches to help him, but he was only doing it for his parents, not himself. On Aug. 1, 2011, Kim Krueger, Cody’s mother, found her son dead. She said he was not only their son, but their best friend.

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