Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Heroin in La Crosse, by Megan Sukovich

The La Crosse Police continue to battle a heroin. “I see heroin in our community almost every day that I work,” says La Crosse Drug Unit Supervisor Detective Sergeant Andrew Dittman.

Heroin is cheap and accessible, a continued euphoria, but not as expensive as prescription narcotics. “I believe it is a combination of people desire to finds a cheaper source of opiates when they engage in prescription drug abuse as well as the fact that it has become much more readily available,” says Sergeant Dittman.

Heroin is not commonly seen on the college campuses in La Crosse. Scott Rohde, Chief of the UW-L Campus Police says, “We’re an island. Like meth, we typically don’t have it on campus.”  But he adds that the low cost could change that.

Heroin, scientifically known as diacetylmorphine, is an extremely addictive opioid that contributed to 3,094 deaths in 2010, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An average addict spends between $100 -$250 a day to support their drug habit.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention Drug recorded that overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2010 among people 25 to 64 years old. Drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes.

“We have had several overdose related deaths this year,” says Sergeant Dittman. However, city officials are able to use the drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, to aid in preventing death. This drug is used to counter the affects of opioid overdose by boosting blood pressure and heart rate, often times immediately awakening people who have overdosed. In 2013 emergency responders say they've used the antidote at least 200 times. That number is 5 times higher than just 6 years ago. 

Sergeant Dittman advises students to play their part to keep the community drug free. “Hopefully we can help people make informed decisions about what they put into their body.  Students should study the causes of addiction to empower themselves. They should have discussions about the causes and effective solutions to opiate addiction.”