… we have a small favor to ask. Thousands of people have placed their trust in the Racine County Eye’s high-impact journalism because we focus on solutions-based journalism.
With no shareholders or billionaire owners, we can provide trustworthy journalism that focuses on helping readers.
Unlike many others, Racine County Eye’s journalism is available for everyone to read, regardless of what they can afford to pay. We do this because we believe in information equality. Greater numbers of people can keep track of events, understand their impact on people and communities, and become inspired to take meaningful action.
If there were ever a time to join us, it is now. Every contribution, however big or small, powers our journalism and sustains our future. Support the Racine County Eye from as little as $5 – it only takes a minute. Thank you.
And the problem is at a level that is the worst they’ve seen in their careers.
“This is a problem that is nationwide,” Chiapete said. “And it has affected Wisconsin at an unbelievable rate…. Trish will tell you that we talk to the medical examiner almost every week.”
In Racine County there were three heroin-related overdose deaths in 2008, but the number has risen to 12 in 2013.
Drug-related arrests — which includes heroin — have also increased significantly in Caledonia. In 2008, the department handled about 70 drug-related arrests. The department has handled over 140 from Jan. 1 through July 30.
“Most of the reason is because the drug is cheaper and more prevalent,” said Capt. Dan Warren, of the Caledonia Police Department. “The supply line is coming up from Mexico and unfortunately we’re just off of one of the direct routes.”
Racine County Deputy District Attorney Trish Hanson explained how her cousin overdosed on heroin in Racine when he was 29-years-old.
“He lived his whole life in Caledonia. He had every advantage of what you want to have,” Hanson said. “…but it wasn’t enough to overcome his addiction.”
Lt. Gary Larsen told the Village Board that one issue the department faces is that they don’t have a police officer in any of the schools in Caledonia, nor do they have a police presence on the Racine County Metro Drug Unit.
Village president Bob Bradley thanked the law enforcement officials that came out to give the presentation and told them that budget time was coming up and that the presentation would be part of the discussion in allocating resources.
Village board member Kevin Wanggaard asked Larsen if the department had tried to apply for grants, but Larsen said the department couldn’t qualify for grants because they didn’t already have any existing programs that qualified for the grant programs.