[image credit: wisn.com]
Treatment programs work, but there isn't funding
Two hundred twenty people died in Milwaukee County in 2014 from heroin and other opiates, 10 times the number from a decade earlier for the entire state.
“We're on the front lines of this heroin epidemic,” Greenfield Police Chief Brad Wentlandt said. “We just came to the realization that we weren't really doing anything to solve the problem. We were simply arresting and ticketing or arresting and referring to Circuit Court, and there was no follow up that would in any way give these young people an opportunity to get better,” Wentlandt said.
Solution: Use drug seizures to fund treatment for local addicts
“Frankly, writing more tickets and issuing more criminal charges isn't going to save any of them. Detox and treatment is going to save them,” Wentlandt said. "If they express a desire to get clean and sober, we're going to provide every possible resource for them, and that goes for paying for their treatment if necessary."
To fund the treatment, the police department will use money seized in the past from drug dealers, apply for grants and partner with local agencies like Aurora and Impact.