Attorney General launches campaign to fight heroin use

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SHEBOYGAN (WITI) -- Heroin has become a problem in every county in Wisconsin and now the Attorney General is traveling the state to introduce a new campaign aimed at preventing abuse of the drug.

"Heroin is an epidemic that's spreading across this state like I've never seen and it's an epidemic of one of the most addictive, most destructive that we could possible have to face," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen.

Van Hollen joined first responders in Sheboygan on Thursday, September 26th during his tour of Wisconsin, touting a statewide public awareness campaign to educate the public, especially young people, about the consequences of heroin use.

Part of the program is sharing real-life stories with the public. Six years ago State Representative John Nygren found out his oldest daughter was on heroin.

"I'll never forget the day that Casey told me that she was addicted to heroin," said Rep. Nygren. "Found my daughter, her friends having abandoned her, on the kitchen floor with a needle still in her arm and she was purple and barely breathing."

Nygren's daughter survived with EMT's administering Narcaine. She was arrested, served jail time, and has since left town to avoid a drug test, which is part of her probation.

Van Hollen, and others involved in the campaign, hope to prevent similar situations from ever happening.

"It is the opportunity for us to explode the concept of heroin and heroin abuse statewide," said Van Hollen.

The State Department of Justice has already unveiled a multimedia campaign with real stories from families and victims of heroin, detailing the sometimes deadly consequences of using the drug.

The Justice Department is providing $125,000 in grants for localized efforts to combat heroin use, including $17,000 in Sheboygan.

Sheboygan plans to use a multu-disciplinary approach including law enforcement, corrections, health and human services, health care, non-profits and business. The main message is making sure people know how addictive heroin is.

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