Rotary Chit Chat 4-27-2015

Program: Tricia Hanson Racine County Deputy District Attorney. She recently attended the Heroin Summit in Waterford, and is introduced today by Bev Baker of UW Extension. This program is important because people need to be more aware of the problems associated with heroin use...


Rotary Chit Chat 4-27-2015

Opened with Pledge of Allegiance and Rotary 4-Way Test.

Guests: Deena Corey from Love Inc.

Board Business: Next board meeting will be held on May 5. We have kringle and coffee starting at 7 am, Veteran’s Terrace. Join us, it’s an open meeting for any and all members.

Chocolate Fest information Please sign up for your work shifts for pre-festival grounds clean up and for tear down at the close of the festival. There are Chocolate Fest brochures available for distribution. Yard signs are available at today’s meeting (and from Bill Smitz afterward).

Rotary Round Up: Nothing to report

Student Guests:

I am Gretchen Robers; I am a BHS student, and my parents are Jackie and Tom Robers. I have played 2 sports, Volleyball and Soccer. I am also involved in the leadership program, Driven. I have worked 2 jobs throughout high school. I plan to attend UW LaCrosse. What’s unique about both of us (students) today is that we have been best friends since before kindergarten

I am Molly Benavides. My parents are Peter and Becky Gauger. I have done Gymnastics, Cross Country, and Track and Field. I am also part of the Driven Leadership program. I work at the Pharmacy Station when I am not doing sports. I plan to attend UW LaCrosse, in order to become a radiation therapist.

Proud Bucks: 

Barb KopackHill, who is grateful for this Rotary Club: “...absolutely one of the best organizations I have ever had the honor to be a part of. Thank you for your friendship and leadership in our community.”


Back in the spring of 2014, we held our first heroin summit. One was held in the city of Racine, one was held in Burlington, and one in Waterford. The point the Racine County Sheriff wanted to make with these summits was to get through to more people, and make them more aware of the problems we are experiencing. Our Racine meeting was not very well attended but both summits here in western Racine County were very well attended.

Since then, we have been trying to reach out to as many groups as possible (such as today’s meeting with Rotary). We know that we can’t “arrest our way out” of this problem, so we are trying to be proactive and not reactive.

What do these drugs look like? 

Heroin cases analyzed by County: Racine County recorded 274 cases in 2008; and 1,056 in 2013. This shows incredible growth, but why? Today’s heroin in much more pure than even 10 years ago. You can snort today’s heroin as well as smoke it, not just inject it. The price has also dropped significantly since the 1980’s. The heroin we are seeing now typically comes from South America and parts of the Middle East.

What have we done to combat this?

We are using a multidisciplinary approach. We recognize the need for community partnerships, so we have involved the Department of Corrections, schools, churches, law enforcement, community organizations, and more.

Racine County fact: “When we see a drug death, we usually see this as a ‘polyuse’ situation, in that more than one drug is involved. I am a prosecutor, and I can tell you that Racine County is unique in that for most other crimes, we have different crimes manifesting at either end of the county. But heroin crimes transcend that typical division and we see heroin crime distributed throughout the county.”

The local impact for heroin abuse is that we see unnecessary and tragic deaths.

The Sheriff has provided an additional officer to the Racine County Metro Drug Unit, and has added 2 officers to the Racine County Gang Task Force. The Sheriff continues to increase training to manage opiaterelated overdose deaths.

It is also County policy to introduce and train responders in use of Naloxone (narcan) for impeded users on the way to hospital. It is a miracle, how it works so quickly and thoroughly. There is another type which we can use nasally. This is important, since it means that a deputy can even administer it to someone with minimal medical training . On the off chance that this drug is ever administered to a person who is not overdosing on opioids but who is having some other sort of episode, it is not harmful. The sheriff also sponsors/encourages medication dropoff points. We want people to look at their own medicine cabinets, and get rid of any leftover percocet, vicodin, etc. These drugs (remaining in your medicine cabinet after your surgery, dental work, etc.) can get out into the illicit drug stream, in case of a burglary or other form of theft. There are individuals who attend real estate open houses, for example, with the purpose of examining the contents of a medicine cabinet. So the best thing to do is to just not have it around at all.

At the DA’s office we coordinate with law enforcement. We distinguish between users and dealers, and no 2 cases are ever the same. We want to insure that we get appropriate treatment for any person who needs it. We use a system referred to as Drug Treatment Court. It is the most intensive supervision we can offer. Alongside Drug Treatment Court we also offer Veterans Treatment Court, and these programs together can help provide additional mental health services to vets.

Important warning signs of heroin use:

  • Pupils dilated or constricted
  • Lethargy, being “spaced out”
  • Changes in hygiene, sleep patterns, appetite, weight, school attendance, work attendance
  • Lack of usual motivation
  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
  • Needle marks or track marks

Among adolescents, the most commonly abused drugs are still pot, alcohol and tobacco. But prescription drug abuse is gaining ground. Most heroin addicts were addicted to prescription drugs before heroin. Illicit drug use increases from 8% to 22% between 8th and 12th grade. Data show that 73% of youth have used alcohol. Heroin can be addictive even when used only once. It can do physiological damage on the first use which demands addition right away. It’s not uncommon to go thru treatment or rehab four times to achieve success.

What to do?

● If you suspect drug use, we have a 24hour hotline in Racine County: 2626386741

● Talk to your child and let them know you are concerned and want to help.

● Set firm rules and boundaries about what is and is not acceptable behavior.

● Monitor your child’s activity.

● Encourage healthy interests and hobbies.

● Contact a professional for help and advice about what to do. Free referral helpline from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1800662HELP