Court program helps addicts,
suffers from low graduation rate
Masterson - Freeman Staff
Jan. 29, 2015
Kyle Steinbrecher knows where his life could have gone if he
hadn’t entered Waukesha County’s Drug Treatment Court
“I would be dead or in prison,” he said, “but probably
Steinbrecher, 26, graduated from the program in November
after more than a year of treatment and said he is grateful
for the opportunity he was offered to get help and break his
The program, which began in 2012, offers addicts who are
facing criminal charges the chance to avoid jail time with
regular court appearances and case management appointments,
including office and home visits as well as random alcohol
and drug testing.
But through two full years, the graduation rate for DTC
stands at just 35 percent — less than half the rate for the
county’s Alcohol Treatment Court, which deals with thirdand
fourth-time operating while intoxicated offenders —
according to Sara Carpenter, the multicounty court services
administrator for Wisconsin Community Services.
“What we hear from participants,” she said, “is that it is a
whole different animal than Alcohol Treatment Court.
Addiction to this drug is a whole different ball game and
these clients have so many struggles and it isn’t just
addiction — it’s family, it is mental health, it’s
employment, it’s education.”
A dangerous gateway
Steinbrecher, who spoke before the county’s Criminal Justice
Collaborating Committee during its meeting Wednesday, said
he began using marijuana when he was 17. Quickly, though,
that took a turn down a more dangerous path.
addiction progressed through marijuana to Ecstasy, cocaine,
acid, mushrooms, heroin and opiates,” he said. “When I got
to opiates it was like I found my calling for drugs.”
He said a dealer started off giving him
the drugs for free, but when that ran out he was forced to
start buying them. Once he lost his job, he turned to
stealing, lying and manipulating his way into finding his
next fix. He pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and
delivering narcotics on separate occasions before an arrest
for disorderly conduct had him facing a decade in prison.
“That was kind of like my wake-up call,”
he said. “Everybody has their different rock bottom or a
wake-up call — for me it was facing 10 years in prison and
realizing is prison really going to help me or is it just
going to give me different connections?”
Instead, his attorney got him enrolled
in the Drug Treatment Court program, sparing him from
further jail time.
Not many grads
Carpenter said participants in Drug
Treatment Court also have far more needs than their
counterparts in ATC, which demands more from the program’s
two caseworkers — who, she said, barely have time to eat
Their current caseload includes 46
In a report to the CJCC, Carpenter said
in 2014 DTC accepted 112 participants and finished the year
with 59 more on its wait list. Of those accepted, seven
graduated, bringing the program’s total number of graduates
up to 17 in its history.
Those numbers compare rather unfavorably
with Alcohol Treatment Court, where last year alone there
were 31 graduates from the third-offense OWI population and
17 more from the fourtime offenders.
In addition, graduates from DTC last
year were with the program for an average of 556 days — well
above the 425day average for third-time OWI offenders.
CJCC Coordinator Rebecca Luczaj said the
county is aware of these disparities and is taking steps to
try and boost DTC graduation, including reaching out to
American University, a nationwide technical assistance
provider for the program.
“I told them our dilemma,” Luczaj said,
“that we have a low graduation rate and wanted them to look
at that and see what we can do. So they are actually going
to send us some technical assistance consultants who are
going to meet with our team and work with us just analyzing
how our program operates now and maybe make some suggestions
of some things we can do to maybe increase that number.”
‘I have my old son back.’
Steinbrecher entered Drug Treatment
Court on Oct. 31, 2013. He said the early stages of the
program were overwhelming because so much is required. But
within a couple months, he was in a routine and became more
comfortable with his caseworkers.
“I was closed in the beginning,” he
said. “But I realized that unless you talk about something,
you are not going to fix it.
“If I could fix my own problem... I
wouldn’t need any of you. If I could get off drugs on my own
it would be like, whatever, but that is not the case.”
He said he relied on the color call
system, a daily routine where participants are called for
random drug tests based on different colors chosen each day,
to help him stay focused on recovery rather than seeking out
drugs — something he said never really crossed his mind
Steinbrecher graduated from Drug
Treatment Court on Nov. 18, 2014, 383 days after he entered
it. He said he is back working and still receives help from
staff as well as monthly injections of Vivitrol — an opioid
receptor antagonist used once monthly to combat opioid
He received an ovation from the full
committee after sharing his story and was invited by CJCC
Chair Judge Jennifer Dorow to return to the program in the
future as a visitor.
“I appreciate the opportunity I got,” he
said. “My mom is happy — she is like ‘I have my old son
‘I’m sick and tired of burying kids’
Board committee approves random drug test policy
By Eric Oliver - Enterprise
Jan. 29, 2015
OCONOMOWOC — A
School Board committee on Tuesday approved a policy that
could see 75 percent to 80 percent of Oconomowoc students in
grades seven through 12 randomly drug tested starting next
The Committee on Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment
approved the proposal, which, if the School Board approves
it at its Feb. 17 meeting, would apply to all students
engaged in sports and extracurricular activities and those
signing up to park in the high school parking lot.
Random drug tests
Director of Student Services and Special Education Lisa
Dawes presented the proposed random drug test policies to
the committee. Under the plan, the district would cover the
cost of a standard split sample test, where two specimens
are separately screened for drugs. If a parent or student
wishes to contest a positive finding, a third test of the
original sample can be done at their expense.
If the policy is approved by the board, the next steps will
be to look for a vendor to conduct the testing, make updates
to the student handbooks, develop a conset form and have
conversations at freshman athletic meetings about the new
School Board members John Suttner and Jessica Karnowski
showed interest over an option for private testing that
could be conducted at a pre-approved offsite facility within
Dawes said that should not be considered because of the
possibility of altering the sample.
Oconomowoc Area School District Superintendent Roger Rindo
said standardizing is the best way to ensure equal treatment
to all students. Dawes and Rindo said that the test as well
as the inclusion of all the current anti-drug practices will
be another tool for students to say no.
“As superintendent we’re responsible for
5,200 kids and if this is a policy that impacts one life I
can’t say that it is something I can’t fully support,” Rindo
said. “Right now we can’t say that we are doing everything
and I’m sick and tired of burying kids. At least if we have
this in place along with all the other things we are doing I
can sleep at night saying we are doing everything we can.”
Karnowski had another concern over the
effectiveness of the new drug policy as a deterrent since
the current policy is not acting as such. Rindo said that
the current policy is not sufficient enough because it can
only punish students for drug use on the property or by
Dawes said a reason it’s ineffective is
because it relies heavily on students to report illegal
substance use, which does not happen.
problem not going away; a sustained fight needed
Jan. 29, 2015
problem in Waukesha County, like hundreds of other
communities in the U.S., is not going away anytime soon —
particularly if we take our eyes off the ultimate goal:
saving lives and getting addicts in treatment.
Oconomowoc Area School District Superintendent Roger Rindo
said at a meeting of the Committee on Curriculum,
Instruction and Assessment he didn’t want to sound
melodramatic, but that he was “sick of burying kids.”
His message wasn’t melodramatic, it was the truth and it
needs to be amplified many times over until everyone hears
it loud and clear: We must stop the senseless deaths of our
Rindo and the school district’s aggressive drug testing
policy is in the right; unprecedented risks require
unprecedented measures, particularly when safeguarding
against a foe as insidious as opiates.
It might be difficult for parents to imagine their middle
schoolers, or even elementary schoolers, experimenting with
or using drugs. However, time and time again, we see court
documents that outline the use and abuse of opiates by teens
and even pre-teens.
It is easy to rally a community beset by tragedy, be that
cancer or a terrible accident or an overdose. However,
what’s really needed is sustained awareness about the
problem by every person in the community.
Opiate addiction has no socioeconomic or racial boundaries.
Blame is irrelevant and wrongheaded. Solutions are the only
thing that matter.
In that spirit, the next Stairway to Heroin event will take
place on Tuesday, Feb. 17, starting with a resource fair at
5:45 p.m. and a program from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at
Westbrook Church, 1100 Highway 83 in Hartland.
The event is the third in the Stairway to Heroin series and
is titled “A Bridge to Action, Communities Coming Together.”
We strongly recommend everyone attend. The event is free and
more information can be found at
HEROIN TASK FORCE
Avoiding the ‘tangle’of the courts
Program offers new options for addicts who commit crimes
Seyfer - News Graphic Staff
Jan. 22, 2015
PORT WASHINGTON — A newly
implemented program is giving new options for selected drug
offenders with a hope that it will curb the drug problem
countywide and keep the offenders out of the criminal
Thanks to a $132,900 grant from the Wisconsin Department of
Justice, the Ozaukee County District Attorney’s Office and
local judges are working with Starting Point of Ozaukee to
implement a treatment alternatives and diversion program, or
TAD, for offenders who meet the criteria. The county is
making a $37,780 match. The goal of the program is to change
the behavior of those who may have committed crimes due to
their drug or alcohol addiction.
“The program is actively (helping individuals,)” said Kerry
Young, TAD program coordinator and case manager for Ozaukee
County. “What this program offers to individuals who have
alcohol or drug charges is an opportunity to avoid getting
tangled in the criminal justice system.”
Ozaukee County currently has eight active TAD cases, with
three cases pending and five cases that were pinpointed for
diversion or deferred prosecution and have not responded to
the opportunity to enter the program, Young said.
Recently released statistics from the Ozaukee County
Sheriff’s Office drug unit show seizures of prescription
drugs, heroin, cocaine and marijuana support the necessity
to provide substance abuse treatment, interventions and
“The numbers are solely based on the drug unit’s activity,”
said Ozaukee Sheriff’s Lt. Rodney Galbraith, head of the
drug unit. “As far as cocaine and marijuana being higher is
very much likely affected by who the informant(s) was and
who they had access to during that year and not by the
availability or price of the drug. Other drug levels that
were down were likely caused by a lack of informants rather
than any change in the levels of availability of the drug …
(it’s) not a reflection of the problem.”
Four deputies make up the drug unit. The seizure figures do
not include cases and arrests that other officers make
throughout the sheriff’s office and other countywide law
enforcement officers, Galbraith said. TAD focuses on
reducing recidivism and incarceration due to substance abuse
by providing treatment and support to break the addiction
cycle in individuals who meet criteria set by the courts and
the DA’s office. Though many different TAD models exist,
Ozaukee County uses a diversion and district attorney model,
in which the DA makes referrals which are sent to a case
manager for evaluation. The model uses strict guidelines,
such as a zero tolerance for alcohol, drugs and arrests,
holding participants accountable.
“My office selects participants that ordinarily would be
appropriate for (removal) in the criminal justice system,”
said Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol. “People
with no criminal contacts, no hint of violence in the
contact that caused them to be arrested and people that are
truly suspected of having an established or potentially
burgeoning AODA problem. Most of these people are what we
sometimes would call a ‘self-corrector.’ Criminal justice
alone might have been enough to scare a person into better
behavior. However, on probation, there would be little
therapy or oversight.”
Gerol said that evaluation typically begins with a request
for charges from a law enforcement agency. When the DA
believes the defendant may be appropriate for diversion, a
draft of a criminal complaint is written. The complaint is
not filed; however, it is sent to the defendant with a
letter suggesting that they consult with an attorney and
perhaps consider the program. Within 10 days, the person
makes an appointment with Starting Point to see if they
believe the person has an alcohol or drug addiction and
could benefit from the program.
“We are one of over 30 counties that
received funding for TAD,” said Starting Point Director Shea
Halula. “One of the biggest issues with TAD is that many
people do not realize what it is and how cost effective it
Halula added that TAD has a three-year
recidivism rate of 17 percent and every $1 invested in TAD
The evidence-based TAD approach and case
management has been found to “successfully divert nonviolent
offenders with substance abuse treatment needs from further
criminal justice system involvement,” according to the
University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
Through the creation of TAD, the
criminal justice system is able to provide increased
opportunities for treatment of substance abusing offenders,
specifically reducing the risk of social, economic and
health problems. In addition to increased criminal justice
costs, substance abuse contributes to chronic disease,
decreased productivity, social and family disruption, lack
of educational attainment and increased health care costs,
the university’s TAD 2007-2010 Evaluation Report’s executive
University studies show TAD projects
successfully divert nonviolent offenders with alcohol or
other drug problems from jail and prison incarceration. A
total of 135,118 incarceration days were averted by TAD
projects during the first four years of TAD, or 86,530 jail
days and 45,588 prison days.
Further, TAD participants are less
likely to be convicted of a new offense after program
discharge than those who do not participate. More than
three-quarters, or 76 percent, of TAD participants are not
convicted of a new crime after their program participation.
TAD conviction rates of 24 percent for
participants is still lower than that of 38.2 percent for
offenders released from prison and convicted of a new crime
within three years, according to Wisconsin Department of
“TAD gives many sectors, such as county
board members, the county administrator, judges, the DA, the
sheriff’s office, human services and health departments, as
well as other key stakeholders the opportunity to come
together as a team and use resources and tools to best serve
the participants,” Halula said.
Denise Seyfer can be reached at
clock big heroin increases from 2013 to 2014
Berlin’s heroin arrests almost doubled
Pryor - Freeman Staff
Jan. 21, 2015
WAUKESHA — Heroin has been described as an epidemic sweeping
southeastern Wisconsin and Attorney General Brad Schimel has
declared it public enemy number 1, but local police
jurisdictions are still reporting massive increases in
heroin-related arrests during the past two years.
In New Berlin, heroin arrests almost doubled from 2013 to
2014, with police arresting 10 people for heroin possession
and 12 people for heroin paraphernalia in 2013. 18 people
were arrested for heroin possession and 21 for heroin
paraphernalia in 2014.
“We’re definitely not immune to it in New Berlin,” New
Berlin Police Capt. Mike Glider said. “Everyone’s priority
in Waukesha County is to increase awareness of heroin. It’s
not just an inner city problem — the suburbs too. All
jurisdictions have seen an increase. It’s a trend we are
trying to reverse.”
Capt. Jay Iding of the Pewaukee Police Department said
heroin and marijuana numbers ticked up slightly in 2014 over
“Waukesha County as a whole, southeastern Wisconsin as a
whole, it is just that again we are dealing with this heroin
issue,” Iding said. “It is huge.”
New Berlin police also saw a slight
spike in marijuana arrests, from 103 in 2013 to 113 in 2014.
Glider said that might be attributable to two new K-9 units
being used on traffic stops last year.
“They can legally do a sniff around the
vehicle as long as it doesn’t prolong the time of a traffic
stop. If they hit, we can search,” Glider said. “They can
smell drugs coming out of doors or windows, and they’ll go
crazy if they think there are drugs inside the car. It also
works for opiates.”
Waukesha police arrested 263 people for
possession of marijuana in 2013, versus 213 in 2014. In
Waukesha, heroin possession arrests increased from 30 in
2013 to 39 last year. Arrests for selling heroin dropped
from 38 to 13, and arrests for selling cocaine dropped from
41 to 22.
Waukesha Police Lt. Tom Wagner said the
drops might be attributable to a reallocation of resources.
“When you have heroin-related death
investigations, which I believe we had 12 of last year, they
take up a lot of resources,” Wagner said. “It might take a
two-month investigation into one incident that results in
Wagner said although heroin use and
distribution is a growing trend and thus a growing concern,
marijuana and other drugs are still a priority for his
department. He also said many drug offenders are caught when
they’re doing something else illegal.
“It’s like if you get in a fight and
you’ve got a bag of weed in your pocket,” Wagner said.
making mark in county
discovered in area last year
By Matt Masterson -
Jan. 21, 2015
Methamphetamine use is not nearly on the crisis level of
heroin and other opioids in Waukesha County, but the drug
has been found in the area and at least one lab was
discovered in the county in 2014 for the first time in
Detective John Kopatich of the Metro Drug Unit gave a
presentation to the county’s Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse
Advisory Committee Tuesday about the production and history
of methamphetamine in Waukesha.
He said meth — a white, odorless powder — is extremely
addictive and produces the same sort of euphoric state as
heroin by boosting dopamine levels in users’ brains.
Last year, the Metro Drug Unit purchased just 86.52 grams of
methamphetamine through undercover agents or informants.
Between 2008 and 2012, the price of meth dropped by 70
percent, but its purity increased by 130 percent, according
The drug is much more common in areas including the southern
United States, the Dakotas and Canada, according to Kopatich.
Most of the country’s meth comes from Mexico, but it can be
made virtually anywhere using inexpensive, over-the-counter
ingredients cooked together in small “shake-and-bake” or
“It is very small, easily concealable,” he said. “Over 90
percent of the labs that are getting taken out by law
enforcement across the country are these shake-and-bake
These labs are built using two-liter bottles and allow users
to make one or two grams per cook.
In May a Town of Lisbon man, Dale Saugstad, was charged with
manufacturing meth in one such lab. He told investigators he
learned to do the “shake and bake” method while living down
south, and as far as he knew he was the only person in the
area making meth, according to the criminal complaint
against him. He was eventually found guilty and received a
10-year prison sentence last September.
While these small labs are often easy to hide, they are also
“We talked to one of the DEA agents who came and cleaned up
our lab in Lisbon,” Kopatich said, “(and he said) that 50
percent of the time these will result in explosion.”
Last year five people in Pewaukee were also indicted after
receiving shipments of meth from California.
Recovering addict: ‘I thought I was in
During the meeting, Susie Austin — a member of the AODA
Advisory Committee and herself a recovering methamphetamine
user — recounted the horrors she experienced when the drug
overtook her life two decades ago in Arizona.
“I thought I was in control,” she said. “I had seizures from
overdosing. I had been beaten, I had been raped, I had just
about everything you can have happen ... but I still thought
I was in control.”
Austin, now a Waukesha resident, has been with the committee
for nearly 15 years and works with Celebrate Recovery, a
local recovery program based on Christianity.
Austin said she did not believe she had a problem while she
was using, but quickly got caught up in the drugs. She
received a round of applause from the committee after saying
she had gotten out of that situation 17 years ago.
“You don’t realize what is happening to you,” she said. “I
was 30 years old, I wasn’t a big drug user, then all of a
sudden I got caught up in using and dealing.”
part of D.A.R.E. curriculum
Studies have cited little impact on drug, alcohol use
By LINDA MCALPINE - Daily News
Jan. 17, 2015
Rondorf didn’t know anything about heroin, but by the time
the Holy Angels Catholic School fifth-grader graduated
Thursday afternoon from the Drug Abuse Resistance Education
(D.A.R.E.) program, she had learned enough to make her want
to avoid it.
“I think one of the most important things I learned is that
taking drugs is a big problem and that we need to make good
decisions not to do that,” Rondorf said. “I never heard
about heroin before but I did learn that even if you do it
once, you can get addicted, and that’s bad.”
Rondorf and nearly 40 other fifth-grade students at Holy
Angels joined millions of other children around the world
who have participated in the D.A.R.E. program that is taught
by law enforcement officers.
“We met once a week for an hour for 14 weeks,” Washington
County Sheriff’s Department Detective Hope Demler said just
before the graduation ceremony began Thursday at Holy
Angels. “In the program, we talk about a variety of drugs,
like marijuana and inhalants,” Demler said. “For the first
time, we’ve added a section about heroin, which is a growing
The D.A.R.E. program focuses on much
more than just drugs, Demler noted.
Washington County Sheriff Dale
Schmidt, left, signs the t-shirt of Lola Chemer,
right, a fifth-grader at Holy Angels Catholic School
after she and nearly 40 other students at the school
graduated from the Drub Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.)
program. Local dignitaries and parents attended a
graduation ceremony Thursday afternoon for the
students at Holy Angels.
Linda McAlpine/Daily News
One of the program’s goals is to give
students the tools they need to make good decisions, Demler
“We talk about other issues, like
alcohol and prescription drug abuse, tobacco use, bullying
and how to resist peer pressure,” Demler said. “We address
making healthy choices and respecting others.”
During the graduation ceremony, four
students were selected to read the essays they wrote about
what they learned in the program. A skit was also presented
about the perils of drinking and driving.
Washington County District Attorney Mark
Bensen led the graduating students in taking the D.A.R.E.
pledge: “I know how dangerous alcohol and other drugs can be
for my body. I pledge to be responsible and never use any
unlawful drugs. I pledge to educate others about the dangers
of drugs. I value my life. I know there are other things to
do than drugs. I can be trusted to keep this pledge.”
Jeff Gonzalez, who was in the audience
to see his son Alex graduate from the program, said there
was one thing in particular he appreciated about D.A.R.E. —
after each session, students had to bring home a paper that
detailed what had been covered that day. The paper, called
Points to Ponder, had to be signed by a parent or guardian
and returned to the school.
“The paper kept us informed about what
our son was learning in the program and it also helped us to
have discussions about those points,” Jeff Gonzalez said.
Washington County Sheriff Dale
Schmidt, left, signs the D.A.R.E. t-shirt of Joe
Held, right, a fifth-grader at Holy Angels Catholic
School as classmate Daniel Krause looks on after
they and nearly 40 other students at the school
graduated from the Drub Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.)
Linda McAlpine/Daily News
When asked if he had any concerns about
the appropriateness of such education for that group,
Gonzalez said no.
“I think it’s very appropriate for this
age group because they’re on the cusp of middle school and
they’re likely to start hearing about these kinds of
things,” Gonzalez said. “We need to help them learn how to
resist peer pressure and this is about the right age for
The Washington County Sheriff’s
Department has been involved in teaching the D.A.R.E.
program in area schools for many years and Schmidt said he
sees it as valuable not only for the students but their
parents as well.
“From my perspective, I think we need to
provide this education because many parents find it
difficult to talk about these things with their kids,”
Not everyone is convinced the program is
effective in deterring kids from using drugs or alcohol.
“We were a part of the program for quite
some time, but then reports came out from the Department of
Justice, the Government Accountability Board and other
science studies that said it had little impact on drug use,”
West Bend Police Department Capt. Tim Dehring said. “The
chief looked at the time and money invested in doing the
program and decided it would be better to use our resources
The liaison officer program, which puts
a police officer in each of the city’s high schools and one
at Badger Middle School, stems from that decision, Dehring
An article from Scientific American that
is featured on that website, notes that “if you were one of
the millions of children who completed the Drug Abuse
Resistance Education program between 1983 and 2009, you may
be surprised to learn that scientists have repeatedly shown
that the program did not work. Despite being the nation’s
most popular substance- abuse prevention program, D.A.R.E.
did not make you less likely to become a drug addict or even
to refuse that first beer from your friends.”
Over the past few years, the D.A.R.E.
curriculum has been revamped. Gone are the long, drug-fact
laden lectures, which have been replaced with interactive
“It’s not an anti-drug program,”
Michelle Miller-Day, co-developer of the curriculum and a
communications researcher at Chapman University, is quoted
as saying in an article on the D.A.R.E. website. “It’s about
things like being honest and safe and responsible.”
Kewaskum Elementary School Principal
Jody Heipp said the D.A.R.E. program will get underway for
fifth-graders next week.
“We feel the
program is something that is proactive. It teaches about
making positive decisions relating to alcohol and drugs, how
to resist peer pressure, having character, being good
citizens and being good role models for others,” Heipp said,
adding that it will be taught by the Kewaskum Police
Drug education for parents
District hosts workshop
By LINDA MCALPINE - Daily News
Jan. 15, 2015
Debbie Adelmann of Kewaskum
looks as West Bend Superintendent Ted Neitzke holds
up a jar of spices and a bottle of a prescription
medication as an item to watch during the “Risks
Facing our Children” presentation on Wednesday night
Badger Middle School in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News
afternoon, West Bend School District Superintendent Ted
Neitzke went shopping at a grocery store and, in less time
than it takes to have a pizza delivered, he rounded up an
assortment of things that kids are using to get high.
As Neitzke pulled each item out of a paper bag, he explained
to about 80 parents of middle schoolers how things like a
bottle of soda or orange juice can be used to disguise
alcohol use during a workshop Wednesday night on alcohol and
drugs at Badger Middle School.
Neitzke showed parents how items in their kitchens could be
used to get an inexpensive buzz — knowledge that is just a
Google search away for today’s kids.
“We want to help you understand the reality that your kids
are facing, even as middle schoolers,” Neitzke said during
the workshop, which was sponsored by the school district,
the West Bend Police Department and the West Bend Fire
West Bend Police Officer Justin Klopp hosted a slide
presentation in which he shared with parents a litany of
drugs, from the familiar, like marijuana and heroin, to the
latest fad drugs like DXM and ecstasy, and the signs and
symptoms of their use.
“Parents who grew up in the ’60s and ’70s may think that
marijuana is no big deal, but back in the day, weed was not
as potent as it is today,” Klopp said.
Bloodshot eyes, relaxed reflexes, an increase appetite,
dilated pupils, paranoia and disorientation are signs that
can indicate marijuana usage, Klopp said.
Cocaine can be snorted or smoked, which causes symptoms like
excitement, exaggerated reflexes, anxiety, a runny or red
nose, loss of appetite and dilated pupils, Klopp said.
“Ecstasy is still very popular. It comes in pill form and
usually has some sort of markings or design on it,” Klopp
said. “Slang terms for it include molly, wheels, rolls and
e-bombs and signs to look for are a dazed appearance, body
tremors, perspiring and nausea.”
“Heroin usually comes in small foil packs called bindles,”
Klopp said. “Heroin users often put together a kit that
contains a syringe, alcohol wipes, a spoon, a tea light and
a lighter, and something to use as a tourniquet.”
“When people start using heroin, they may snort or smoke it,
but it usually isn’t long before they graduate to using a
Signs of heroin use include a low, raspy voice, falling
asleep, depressed reflexes, facial itching, shallow
breathing and puncture marks, Klopp said.
“Dextromethorphan, or DXM, is an ingredient in cough syrup,”
Klopp said. “Signs of its abuse include a blank stare,
repetitive speech, agitation and possible violent or
West Bend Fire Department Battalion Chief Chuck Beistle told
the audience that the department’s ambulance crews regularly
deal with calls of people overdosing on drugs.
“We had a call for a middle school-aged child who was
unresponsive, that turned out to be an overdose,” Beistle
said. “In another case, a person was dropped off right at
the fire station that was turning blue and wasn’t breathing
but had a faint pulse. His friends had driven around with
him in the car trying to figure out what to do with him.
When we talked to his father, his father said he didn’t know
what was going on. We did all we could but he died at the
fire station. We later found out he had been in the hospital
about two months before from an overdose.”
Beistle said parents need to be honest if their child is
abusing drugs and that they should also know who their
children are hanging out with.
“It’s a scary and confusing world for our kids,” West Bend
Police Capt. Tim Dehring said. “Think about the kind of news
stories our children are exposed to, where they’re hearing
about kindergarten kids being shot and killed while in
school. Think about the kind of television programs that are
out there that seem to encourage growing up too fast.”
“It’s a scary world for us as parents, too, but we need to
remember that we need to be parents to our kids and not try
to be their best friend,” Dehring said.
The district will host a workshop for parents and their
middle school children from 6-8 p.m. Feb. 11 at Badger
Middle School to engage in a conversation about how kids can
avoid risky behaviors.
For more information, visit
drug dealers: ‘You are public enemy
Waukesha County’s district attorney since 2006 sworn in as attorney
Masterson - Freeman Staff
Jan. 6, 2015
Brad Schimel left no doubt about what his top priority in
office will be.
“I am committed to fighting the scourge of heroin gripping
the state and I am putting the drug smugglers and dealers on
notice: you are public enemy No. 1,” he said, drawing a
round of applause in the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda
during his inauguration as the state’s 44th attorney
Schimel succeeds J.B. Van Hollen, who did not run for
reelection to a third term, after defeating Jefferson County
District Attorney Susan Happ in November.
Waukesha County’s district attorney since 2006, Schimel
officially took the oath of office and was sworn in by state
Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson during a
ceremony in Madison on Monday.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad
Schimel addresses the audience during his
inauguration ceremony at the Capitol in Madison on
Schimel was introduced
to a crowd of hundreds by his daughters Mackenzie and
Hailey, who said their dad always puts others before himself
and taught them they could do anything if they work hard and
The state’s top lawman said in his 25 years working as a
frontline prosecutor in Waukesha he has worked with victims
from every type of crime imaginable, but the biggest
challenge he has faced is the ongoing heroin and
prescription opioid crisis.
“I have dealt firsthand with heroin,” he said, “and I am
sick of meeting parents who have had to bury a child because
With Schimel on board, Waukesha County has led the state in
the number of Len Bias homicide cases prosecuted — where
drug dealers are charged with first-degree reckless homicide
when users die from using their product. He told The Freeman
last week he is proud of that record, but wants to share it
statewide and go after such cases in communities across
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad
Schimel, left, takes the oath of office from Shirley
Abrahamson, chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme
Court. From Schimel’s left are his daughters Hailey
Mackenzie and wife Sandi.
identified Internet predators and human trafficking as other
top priorities he will handle as attorney general and vowed
to “make our college campuses, neighborhoods and Main
State Sen. Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee, said
he was excited for the inauguration, specifically to hear
what Schimel would have to say. He believes Schimel will be
a great proponent for the justice system and “a wonderful
addition to the team.”
“What I am looking for is Brad to be
Brad,” Farrow said. “He is very tough on crime, he also
looks at how those who have been victims of crimes can get
their lives back on track and he has done a phenomenal job
of that in Waukesha County and I think he is going to bring
some of that experience to the attorney general’s office.”
Former Wisconsin Attorney
General J.B. Van Hollen, left, shakes hands with
newly inaugurated Attorney General Brad Schimel at
the Capitol in Madison on Monday.
Following protests in
Milwaukee in December after a police officer was not charged
in the shooting death of Dontre Hamilton last summer,
Schimel stressed that law enforcement would have “no
stronger partner” than the Wisconsin Department of Justice
under his leadership.
“They will have my commitment,” he said,
“that we will work together to ensure a safe Wisconsin.”
HEROIN TASK FORCE
Sober housing considered for Ozaukee County
would create drug, alcohol-free environment for recovery
By Denise Seyfer - News
Jan. 6, 2015
OZAUKEE COUNTY — “To
err is human,” as the saying goes. Accepting the notion,
however, may prove too challenging for some, especially when
referring to individuals who suffer from drug and alcohol
addiction. With increased crime linked to drug use and
addiction, especially to heroin in Ozaukee County, some
people may want to lock up the offenders and throw away the
key. Instead, the Heroin Task Force in Ozaukee County, a
group of community leaders, citizens and law enforcement. is
working for solutions to battle the growing epidemic among
our youth. Members have been collaborating over the last
year to improve the lives of those suffering from addiction,
while preventing other teens from choosing the same path.
One cutting-edge program under consideration to curb
recidivism and relapse entails sober housing. The concept
provides an affordable drug- and alcohol-free environment
that creates a safe place for peer-group recovery support
for nonviolent, first-time offenders. “Many individuals who
are caught up in drug and alcohol dependence often have lost
all support from family and friends who do not use,” said
Ozaukee County Human Services Director Michael Lappen. “We
know that many individuals are in the jail for crimes
related to their substance use. After they have been there
for a while and have been detoxed, they may wish to try and
remain clean and sober, but their only ‘friends’ left are
the people they were using drugs and alcohol with.”
These individuals tend to be arrested
for possession and may face up to a one-year sentence.
Newly seated Ozaukee County Sheriff
James Johnson said that sober housing provides support,
structure and accountability for those with addictions.
“The program requires the addict to
pursue treatment and voluntarily submit to random drug
screens; this maintains accountability” he said. “Sober
housing gives the foundation to acquire skills that help
them to be productive members of society.”
|“A body clean of
drugs and alcohol can lead to a clean life.”
— James Johnson, Ozaukee County Sheriff
Ozaukee County does
not currently offer any sober housing options. That tide may
be turning though, as members of the task force’s policy and
advocacy committee explore potential houses to use as a
transitional living facility.
the proposed sober-housing business plan, those individuals
selected for sober housing will undergo a rigorous interview
process. Screening applicants is the “single most important
action that can be taken,” which will require a
person-to-person interview with the house managers and
staff, according to the plan.
Selected individuals must prove their
dedication to sobriety by their continued involvement in a
12-step recovery program and have to follow all house rules.
Violation of house rules are grounds for immediate eviction,
the plan said.
According to the National Institute on
Drug Abuse, drug addiction is a complex disease and quitting
takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact,
drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug
abuse; therefore, quitting becomes difficult, even for those
who want to quit.
Research shows that combining addiction
treatment medications with behavioral therapy remains the
best way to ensure success for most patients, the
institute’s information said.
Though there are some similarities,
sober housing differs from other types of transitional
housing options such as halfway homes. The key difference is
that halfway houses are for offenders of all types, where a
parole officer is required. Halfway houses place felons such
as drug-users and/or sex offenders and those who are
mentally ill that are coming from a prison, a hospital or a
In addition, halfway homes are governed
by federal and state laws. Those residents are typically
there under court order and cannot move out unless approved
by a judge, court order or a parole officer.
In contrast, privately-owned sober
housing is solely for drug addicts and alcoholics who have
completed detoxification programs, according to information
in the task force business plan. Houses are to never be
co-ed. Its sole purpose is to support the individual in
developing and maintaining holistic, healthy habits and
activities that aid in long-term sobriety.
Curfews, drug testing, household chores,
cooking and group meetings are common features in these
settings, according to the business plan. Often, house rules
mandate that individuals must be actively in school or
looking for employment. Therefore, some sober houses lock
their doors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., hoping residents are
engaged in healthy lifestyle activities.
Sober housing provides many social and
financial advantages, Lappen said.
“The county would see significant
savings in the cost of jailing people if we can reduce
recidivism,” he said. “We would also see a reduction in the
petty crimes related to drug use … stealing from cars,
garages, etc. to support their daily ‘fix.’ The department
of human services has seen a large spike in child welfare
cases related to addiction to opiates and heroin. If we can
help parents get sober, it will reduce the social costs of
kids being impacted by drugs and also the costs to the
taxpayers of removing the kids from their families and
placing them in foster care.”
Although Heroin Task Force members have
a detailed business model for sober housing, they lack the
funding to support the endeavor. Starting Point of Ozaukee
is looking for those organizations or individuals who are
willing to bring this concept to fruition with any and all
time, talents or treasures.
Sober housing provides the door; yet,
each individual must choose to walk through it.
“A body clean of drugs and alcohol can
lead to a clean life,” Johnson said.
For more information on how to help,
call 375-1110 or visit
Denise Seyfer can be reached at
Ending the addiction cycle
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part series on
By Ken Merrill - Daily News
Dec. 30, 2014
chances that a heroin addict can simply decide to quit — and
stay clean — are slim.
Until recently, the dominant thinking in the medical
community was that addiction is a disease. People with
addictions aren’t bad people, they’re just sick, we were
Research has shown that drug addiction alters brain
structure until it becomes an uncontrollable compulsive
Over time, everything is about heroin. Interpersonal
relationships — family, friends — are only worth what they
do to enhance the addict’s ability to get more heroin.
The common thread between addiction and diseases is that
left untreated, they can be fatal.
Tina Perry, 44, is a recovering cocaine addict with a child
in prison for heroin-related offenses.
“There’s no face to an addict,” Perry said. “There’s no
lifestyle to an addict. It’s an addiction that anybody — any
race, any color, any age — could have.
“I’ve heard ‘Mom, this is a beautiful drug,’ but it destroys
and wrecks lives,” Perry said. “You can teach your children
this is not good, this is not the way to be ... it’s not
ever the parents’ fault. It doesn’t matter if you come from
money or if you don’t. The scenarios don’t matter.”
Perry started using drugs as a teenager in the late 1980s at
the height of cocaine’s popularity.
After a suicide attempt — she slit her wrists at the end of
a four-day party — she was forced into rehab.
“I completed the rehab and changed my life,” Perry said.
“Done with the drugs, done with the lifestyle. I did not go
back to the people who I hung around with. I couldn’t go
back to the kids I partied with because I probably would
have continued that lifestyle. Something just released in
me. I didn’t want that life any more.”
It’s personal, too, for Jessica Geschke, director of Alcohol
and Other Drug Abuse Services at Affiliated Clinical
Services in West Bend and a street team coordinator for Rise
Together, a support and advocacy group for recovering
Her brother’s a heroin addict — “two months clean” she said.
“That’s why I got into this.
“My family has been through hell and back,” Geschke said.
“I’m in recovery myself, trying to figure out the right way
to do this balancing act so that I don’t enable his
■ Recovering heroin addicts tell their stories on video
“Sure,” she said.
“I’ve met lots of addicts who have quit without any type of
services. They’ve been strong in their NA (Narcotics
Anonymous) and their faith and they say ‘I’ve never needed
treatment.’ “They detox at home by themselves,” Geschke
said. “It’s horrible. It’s not something I would recommend
because you don’t know how long it’s going to last.”
Nadine Machkovech, 21, was able to detox
and stay clean without a formal rehab program.
Now a recovery coach and street team
coordinator for Rise Together, Machkovech pointed to two
events that led to her recovery.
“I lost my grandma and a close friend
died of a heroin overdose,” Machkovech said. “I had a lot of
guilt and shame — why had it taken him instead of me?”
Jessie Geschke of Affiliated
Services leans her sweatshirt on the back of a chair
at one of her desks at the group therapy office on
Dec. 18 in West Bend. Her brother also wears the
sweatshirt. He is in
“long-term recovery” for heroin addiction.
John Ehlke/Daily News
After squandering the inheritance she
received from her grandmother on an extended drug binge,
Machkovech came clean.
“When I quit using I surrounded myself
with really healthy people,” she said. “I was with my sister
and her husband and I was doing 12-step support groups and
going to church. The first couple of months after I stopped
using it was hard to even think clearly. For so long, the
drugs were making all the decisions for me. It was hard for
me to understand how a person lives a normal life.
“Without my faith I know I wouldn’t be
where I am today,” Machkovech said. “I finally realized that
I had some kind of purpose in life, that I was put on earth
for a reason. Two weeks after that I met Doug (Darby) and
Anthony (Alvarado) through Rise Together and I started
sharing my story. I found my purpose in life through that.”
Darby and Alvarado are cofounders of
Steve Dahlen is an alcoholic. He’s been
sober since April 8, 2008, and works as a house manager at
Exodus House, a transitional care facility in Kewaskum for
alcoholics and drug addicts. Most of the residents are
Steve Dahlen, a supervisor at
Exodus House in Kewaskum, is shown Dec. 16.
John Ehlke/Daily News
“No one wakes up one day and says ‘I
think I’ll be a heroin addict,’” Dahlen said. “It’s
something they get into and as they progress their life gets
more and more out of control.”
Recovery is “a long process,” Dahlen
said. “It’s not just 90 days at the Exodus House and it’s
not just getting off the substance. It’s a lifestyle change.
“That person you see that’s addicted,
doing terrible things, it’s not the person, it’s the drugs,”
Dahlen said. “We made bad choices. Once you take that drug
away and you see them, six, nine months later he’s a whole
other person. It’s not the person, it’s the drugs that
turned him into that.”
For all its advances, the medical
community has been unable to develop a solution. There’s no
magic bullet to cure addiction.
“It’s a chronically relapsing disease,”
said Geschke. “It’s impossible to tell who will be
successful” in rehabilitation and recovery.
Dahlen said addicts have to hit “rock
bottom” before they’re ready to change.
“The rock bottom for me was being
arrested, taken out of my house and not remembering,” he
said. “I was the town drunk in Jackson.”
He sees people at rock bottom.
“When people come into treatment, when
you see the look on their face, they’re very desperate,”
Dahlen said. “When you talk to them after 30 days of
treatment they’re a totally different person. Sometimes they
come back a year later that they’re sober, they got married,
they’ve got kids on the way, they’ve got a house, a good
job. You never know what to expect of a resident when they
come to us.”
Dahlen said his work “makes me feel good
instead of thinking about all the crap I did.”
Katie Jones, a recovering heroin addict,
said criminal activity to support her habit was, ultimately,
“I became very good at making checks.
Forging names,” she said. “That’s ultimately how I got clean
— I went to prison. I don’t have any drug charges ... more
than for forgery. I ended up getting caught in 2004. I
stayed in the House of Corrections in Franklin for a year.
Katie Jones of Affiliated
Services sits in front of a display she created for
the group therapy room in one of their offices on
Dec. 18 in West Bend. Jones has been 11 years clean
of heroin use. She started with crystal
methamphetamine and progressed to heroin.
John Ehlke/Daily News
“When I got out I just told myself I’m
not doing that again. I remapped everything I ever thought
and started working on myself and the things I needed to
Geschke faced a personal crisis recently
after the overdose deaths of three clients.
“I was at a point where I just said ‘I’m
done. I can’t watch people die.’ “But then I went to a
meeting of Rise Together and had a fire built under me,”
Geschke said. “I may end up burying clients but I help 50
more. I help people every day.”
Perry’s experience has led her to create
a program she calls “Just Listen.”
“It’s a positive living, positive
lifestyle and also a substance abuse awareness program,” she
said. “I want my program to be so good that they will not
want to use to be a part of my program.
“I have a race
with myself,” Perry said. “It’s not only to help my child,
but the public. The faster I can reach out to people, the
faster I will be saving lives and helping families.”
No common denominator
Heroin addicts come from variety of backgrounds
Editor’s note: This is part one of a two-part series on heroin
By Ken Merrill - Daily News
Dec. 29, 2014
Heroin, it seems, is everywhere.
It was once rare and expensive — the province of musicians
and entertainers. Billie Holiday, Ray Charles, Charlie
Parker, Miles Davis, Keith Richards and Eric Clapton
overcame heroin addictions. Janis Joplin, Sid Vicious, John
Belushi, River Phoenix, Chris Farley, Corey Monteith and
Philip Seymour Hoffman didn’t. It’s a long list.
No longer. Heroin is readily available and inexpensive.
It’s synthesized from morphine, which is refined from opium
in the seed pods of poppies. A powder, it can be smoked,
snorted or injected. Inside your body, heroin is converted
to morphine and binds to opioid receptors in the brain. An
intense rush of pleasure — the “high” — quickly follows.
“It’s better than sex,” said Katie Jones, 43, a recovering
addict who works as a street team coordinator with Rise
Together, a support and advocacy group for recovering
Jones’ parents divorced when she was a preschooler, and she
said her father’s family “has a lot of addiction issues.”
When her mother remarried, she was sexually abused by her
stepdad, who ended up being sentenced to prison.
“I think a majority of my issues came from not only of it
being in the genes — y’know it runs in the family — but
because of not dealing with things myself, the sexual
abuse,” Jones said.
She began smoking marijuana and drinking
in high school, and by her mid-20s she was injecting
methamphetamine. She was introduced to heroin while on
“The first time I tried it I was like,
‘why have I never heard of this before?’” Jones said. “It
totally numbed everything. I didn’t have to think about
issues I was going through or bills or a house to take care
of — all that kind of stuff.
“It’s like a dream state,” she said.
Nadine Machkovech, 21, a recovery coach
and street team coordinator for Rise Together, grew up with
“very loving and caring” parents in Beaver Dam, attending a
Catholic middle school and graduating from Beaver Dam High
“I started using when I was 14 with
alcohol,” Machkovech said. “When I got to high school,
everybody was partying.”
Drinking, smoking marijuana. Everybody
was doing it.
Nadine Machkovech of Appleton
wears bracelets of Rise Together and WI United We
Can, two organizations she supports. Machkovech
celebrated one year of being sober Dec. 11.
John Ehlke/Daily News
“That quickly turned into an everyday
use,” she said. “After that it was cocaine, Adderol — and by
the time I was 16, 17, I started using prescription pills. I
was getting into so much trouble that I was looking for
something more to make the feelings that I didn’t want to
feel go away. I started using opiates, mainly Percocet. That
spiraled into daily as well as shooting them up and entering
“I have been in recovery since Dec. 11
of last year,” Machkovech said.
Studies show that most heroin addicts
start by using prescription pills — pilfering Vicodin,
Percocet or Oxycontin from the medicine cabinet or buying
from friends. Also derived from the poppy plant, opioid
pills are synthetic heroin.
“Pills were extremely expensive,”
Machkovech said. “I had to deal a lot just to get my fix. At
first my family members were being prescribed, so that’s
where I got it from, then I was buying it off the streets.
“My family really didn’t know the extent
of my drug use, but they enabled my addiction,” she said. “I
was very good at manipulating them. I would do whatever my
dad asked just to get what I wanted.”
Machkovech said the transition from
pills to heroin was easy.
“I was already shooting up pills,” she
said. “I was looking for a quicker high. Heroin was cheaper
and would get in my system faster. It was a small step from
shooting up pills to shooting up heroin. It felt like a rush
... a wave went through my whole body and I was completely
“When I started shooting heroin I was
just tired all the time,” Machkovech said. “I was crabby. I
usually didn’t do much. Didn’t shower for days. I would be
OK as long as I wasn’t sick.”
Tina Perry, 44, is both an addict and
the mother of a heroin addict.
A cocaine addict as a Chicago-area
teenager who was forced into rehab after a suicide attempt,
Perry said being the parent of an addict is all-consuming.
“You never know how your day is gonna
go,” Perry said. “I’m scared to death to get a phone call or
get a knock on my door because I know what that means. When
my phone rings I’m afraid to look at it because I don’t
know. I don’t sleep well. I’ve had very crazy days being the
parent of an addict.
Tina Perry smiles as she looks
over the angel decoration she found that reminded
her of her daughter Dec. 9 at her home in Mequon.
Perry has a daughter in prison on heroin-related
John Ehlke/Daily News
“Addicts do not start out as criminals
but they turn into criminals,” Perry said. “They will do
anything to get this drug.”
“I was already
shooting up pills. I was looking for a quicker high. Heroin
was cheaper and would get in my system faster. It was a
small step from shooting up pills to shooting up heroin.”
Bias Law an imperfect yet necessary tool in fighting opiates
Dec. 17, 2014
week, warrants were issued for the arrest of two women
charged with reckless homicide in the January overdose death
of Samantha Medinger.
It is one of many reckless homicide cases in the county this
year. The uptick is due to the increase in overdose deaths
from heroin and prescription opiates.
Unfortunately, this has deeply affected Oconomowoc. Archie
Badura, a young OHS alum, also died from an overdose here
this year. It is a pair of tragedies that has proven
everyone is susceptible to the devastation opiate use and
addiction can have on families and communities.
In 1986, Maryland basketball standout Len Bias died of a
cocaine overdose just days after being drafted to play for
the Boston Celtics.
At that time, it was huge national news. A young star just
starting his career collapses and dies after using what at
the time was a drug at the height of its popularity. It
stirred a national debate and a new awareness of the dangers
of hard drugs.
Congress passed the the Len Bias law to address the growing
concern. The law allows drug suppliers to be held
accountable for deaths associated with the drugs they deal.
Wisconsin passed similar legislation two years later.
For the next decade, the law was rarely used, but with the
current rise in opiate and heroin addiction and associated
overdose deaths, it is now being employed liberally
The law is often applied to friends of the victim, rarely to
high-level dealers. The law states the person who supplied
the drug can be held responsible. It doesn’t discern between
someone giving the drugs to the victim or selling the drugs.
Sometimes this is a fellow user that is also addicted to
No law is perfect and there will always be a gray area when
it comes to addiction and who ultimately can be held
responsible for another person’s overdose death.
However, as more and more young people succumb and often die
due to illegal opiate use, it is a solid start in coming to
terms with a problem that must be vigorously fought so the
tragedies that beset the Medingers and the Baduras stop
spreading to more families.
about growing problem
Dozens turn out for Milwaukee community meeting on heroin
ROVITO - Special to The Post
Dec. 2, 2014
Tate doesn’t need statistics to prove to her that there is a
growing heroin problem in the Milwaukee area. She has
already experienced the nightmare that comes from losing a
child to the drug.
Tate’s daughter, Valerie Powers-Ferris,
died of a heroin overdose in March 2013 at the age of 36
after a lengthy battle with addiction.
"I missed a lot of clues. But who thinks there child is
Tate said, a framed photograph of her smiling daughter
positioned on a podium as she spoke to a crowd of about 75
people that gathered Nov. 19 in the auditorium at the
Milwaukee Public Schools Central Services Building on West
The public meeting, organized by Milwaukee Common Council
President Michael Murphy, aimed at starting a dialogue about
what he sees as a growing public health crisis in the
"We unite to confront the tragic trend of increasing
heroin and opiate addiction," Murphy said.
In 2013, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office
reported 216 drug overdose deaths, the highest number ever
recorded, Murphy said.
Overdose deaths last year tied to heroin use rose 34
percent to 69, up from 56 in 2012.
Through August of this year, the latest period for which
figures are available, 71 deaths from heroin overdoses had
been reported in Milwaukee County, Murphy said.
Addiction to prescription drugs that contain opiates,
which often are prescribed to treat pain or injuries, often
leads to heroin use, Murphy said.
In June, Murphy collaborated with the Zilber Family
Foundation, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and elected
officials in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Racine and
Washington counties in organizing the first Southeast
Wisconsin Regional Heroin/Opiates symposium.
"This trend has had a disastrous impact on families," he
Tate said her daughter, who was a mother to two children,
developed back problems as a teenager that eventually
required surgery. She took prescription drugs to cope with
Several years later, Powers-Ferris was once again
prescribed medication to alleviate pain after being injured
in a car accident. Tate noticed a gradual change in her once
outgoing and effervescent daughter.
"She wasn’t laughing like she used to. There was
irritability and she was withdrawn," Tate said. "I realized
the problem was with the pills at first but I had absolutely
no idea that it had progressed to heroin.
I had no idea where the depths of her addiction were
going to take us."
An opiates abuser has a 25 percent chance of a relapse
even after receiving treatment, said Christine Ullstrup,
vice president of clinical services and programming at Meta
House, a Milwaukee residential drug treatment facility.
Addressing the use of opiates, prescription drugs and
heroin is a major focus of Meta House’s treatment programs.
"You need quality treatment on demand and you need it to
be holistic," Ullstrup said.
Prescription drug and heroin abuse also is plaguing area
schools, said Patricia Daugherty, a Milwaukee County
assistant district attorney.
One in seven teenagers admitted last year to abusing
prescription drugs, she said, noting that the path to
addiction often begins in the medicine cabinet of the
"They aren’t going into the central city and buying it on
the street corner," Daugherty said.
Younger people view pills as safer than street drugs even
though heroin and prescription drugs like oxycodone have a
nearly identical chemical makeup, according to Daugherty.
Heroin often provides a cheaper alternative to
prescription drugs, Daugherty said.
For example, a pill of oxycodone in the Milwaukee area
can range from $15 to $30. An equivalent amount of heroin is
$5 to $10, she said. The depressed price for heroin stems
from a flooded international market.
About 50 people accused of taking part in a major heroin
distribution ring on Milwaukee’s East Side were arrested
earlier this month in an effort to reduce the availability
of the drug, if even only temporarily.
Making matters worse, heroin on the street today can be
as high as 90 percent pure, compare with 10 to 15 percent
several years ago.
"That’s why we are seeing so many more overdoses now.
It’s cheaper, more available and stronger than pills,"
Cavalier attitudes toward pain medications must be
addressed to help temper demand.
"We aren’t going to arrest, legislate or even treat our
way out of this," Daugherty said. "We have to, as a
community, address it from all different avenues. You have
to be willing to lock your medicine cabinets and we can’t
have the same tired ‘just say no’ message. These drugs can
kill the very first time."
Denise Sather, a psychologist who works in the wellness
and prevention office for Milwaukee Public Schools, noted
that a survey showed that the number of MPS high school
students who admitted to using heroin one or more times rose
to 7.4 percent in 2013, an increase of 2.5 percent from
MPS must remain focused on changing students’ behaviors
concerning drugs, Sather said.
But challenges exist.
"Those who speak openly about their addiction are often
treated like criminals and made to feel shame. Society
treats addiction like a moral failure," Tate said.
Powers-Ferris developed endocarditis as a result of her
extended drug abuse. The condition required open heart
surgery. Later, Tate had plans for her daughter to get back
into a recovery program.
Police found Powers-Ferris dead when conducting a
wellness check at her residence.
"She was gone and I had to bury my child," Tate said.
"The hole in my soul can never be filled."
Drug-testing policy a tool to prevent problems
Parents concerned about privacy, inclusiveness
Michalets - Special to the Enterprise
Oct. 30, 2014
OCONOMOWOC — In an effort
to craft a random drug test policy for the Oconomowoc Area
School District that takes into consideration feedback from
the community, an informational meeting was held Monday
night at the high school.
A few dozen people attended the meeting and questions were
raised about privacy, supporting data, the exclusion of some
students and how positive and negative results would be
Pat and Pete Williams, who live right behind the high
school’s football field, raised four children and took in 11
foster children, as well as some of their own grandchildren,
so they are familiar with what it’s like to raise a
At the closing of the one-hour presentation and Q-and-A
meeting Monday, Pat Williams said “parents are the last to
know these kids have a problem.”
She encouraged parents to take any help they can get from
the district in monitoring their children.
Earlier in the evening, Williams expressed concern about
some students who she called “underachievers” being excluded
from the drug testing, “I’d like to see them all get a
chance of getting tested,” she said. “Why are you only
targeting the overachievers?”
The proposed policy would affect intermediate and high
school students. As a result of rights guaranteed in the
Constitution, only students participating in a voluntary
sport or co-curricular activity or who exercise the
privilege of parking a motor vehicle in the district parking
lot during the school day can be randomly tested. Substances
that will be tested for by a contracted third party would
include marijuana and opiates such as heroin, oxycodone,
ecstasy, methadone, barbiturates and methamphetamines.
The testing of students will occur on a random basis and
students will be selected by a number assigned to them. The
student services director will supervise the selection of
student numbers for testing and a computerbased system
designed specifically for the purpose of randomly selecting
students will be utilized.
Jessica Karnowski has children in fifth and fourth grades
and 4K and expressed concern about whether drug testing
deters drug use. She wanted to know what else the district
is doing to prevent drug use among students.
She also felt that parents should get the final say about
whether a child, especially for those as young as seventh
grade, is tested and called the district’s proposed policy a
Lisa Dawes, director of student services, said there was
delicate discussion of whether to include seventh- and
eighth-graders in the drug testing, but the district has
heard from students that there is use of drugs at that age.
“We don’t always know,” Dawes said, referring to being a
parent of a child. “Our goal is to help parents know before
it becomes a problem.”
OHS counselor Scott Bakkum said the district has used many
presentations and resources to help inform students about
dangers to help prevent problems from occurring, such as the
Stairway to Heroin events and Your Choice.
He suggested not looking at the drug testing as being
punitive, but rather as a tool.
“We are in a different place than we were a few years ago,”
Students were surveyed as part of the Stairway to Heroin
program and he said the results were scary.
In order to create the draft policy, which would need to be
approved by the School Board before being implemented,
policies from area districts, including Muskego, Pewaukee
and Arrowhead, were reviewed. The school district has also
met with parent groups and clubs to gather feedback.
The next step will be for the policy to be reviewed by the
curriculum committee and then will go to the full School
Board likely in January, Dawes said. If approved, the
district would have the rest of the school year to figure
out logistics and then implement the policy for the
2015-2016 school year.
“(The policy) is meant to be preventative and to give kids a
powerful reason to say no,” Dawes said.
Frequently asked questions about
the OASD drug-testing policy:
How often will screenings take place?
Students become eligible for random drug testing on the
first day they participate in practice, an activity or
performance associated with a sport or extracurricular
activity or request a parking permit.
What will the drug test entail?
Random urine tests will be conducted by a drug screen
technician as a contracted outside agency of the district.
The drug screen will be conducted on site in a designated
private restroom. The agency will supervise the test;
however, will not provide direct observation while the
sample is being submitted.
What are the consequences of a positive drug test? No
student shall be expelled or suspended from school as a sole
result of any verified positive test conducted by the school
under this program. However, students with a verified
positive test under this program will be subject to the
conditions set forth in the athletics/activities code.
Student drug-testing information will not be turned over to
any law enforcement authorities except under circumstances
in which the district is legally compelled to surrender or
disclose such test results.
How will the results be shared and kept private? Who will
see the results? Testing results will be kept in a
confidential file separate from the student’s other
educational records. Results will only be disclosed to the
administration personnel who have a need to be informed in
order to implement or oversee implementation of the policy
or consequences for violating the policy.
What is a student refuses to take a drug test? Will the
refusal be construed as a drug-positive result?
The student will remain ineligible and parking
privileges will be revoked until the student is tested.
How can a student contest the results of a positive drug
test? Will a second confirming test be done? Students
will have an opportunity within 48 hours of notification of
the first positive test result to have the split samples
tested at the family’s expense.
Source: Oconomowoc Area School District
‘The devil is
in our town’
Stairway to Heroin II hits home with recollections of those lost to
addiction, message of hope to those struggling
Perttunen - Enterprise Staff
Oct. 16, 2014
OCONOMOWOC — Candid discussion silenced a crowd of more than
800 people Tuesday evening, when community members heard
firsthand how heroin has devastated the lives of their
friends and neighbors in Lake Country.
The Stairway to Heroin II presentation at the Oconomowoc
Arts Center included stories of loved ones lost to
addiction, journeys back from the brink, law enforcement’s
perspective and the medical community’s input into the
Oconomowoc High School senior
Augie Badura, 17, shares his story at the Stairway to Heroin
II presentation. His older brother Archie Badura, 19,
overdosed on heroin in May.
A parent’s worst nightmare
Jody Medinger warned the audience that what she had to say
was a parent’s worst nightmare.
She woke up from a nap on Jan. 4, went downstairs and found
her daughter Samantha, 24, dead on the living room couch.
Her daughter, she said, was a high-honor student who had
been raised with a drug-free philosophy.
“There is a misconception that this only happens in bad
families, in poor families, in families who don’t care,”
Medinger said. “That’s not true. This disease does not
discriminate. Samantha was known as the kid who didn’t do
drugs. I knew all her friends and I knew all her friends’
But the seed for addiction was planted when Samantha was
prescribed opiate painkillers after surgery on her wisdom
“My good, smart, kid made one stupid, boneheaded decision,”
Medinger said. “She chopped up a pill and snorted it and she
— these are her words — ‘fell in love.’” Medinger said
Samantha would struggle with heroin and opiate addiction for
“Unbeknownst to myself, her father, her boyfriend, her
doctor and her family, she had started using again,”
Medinger said of that fateful day. “She had decided to take
a shot before she went out for the evening with her
boyfriend. Samantha did not intend to die that day; she
intended to go out to dinner with her boyfriend.”
Speaking to a hushed audience, Medinger said her heartbreak
proves that addiction can claim anyone.
“Samantha was gorgeous, sassy, gutsy, intelligent, funny and
a wildly creative artist,” she said. “Heroin took it all,
every last bit of Samantha, then it took her life.”
“I grew up in this town and my daughter grew up in this
town. And the devil is in this town. The devil’s name is
Chris Gleason, director of
Rosecrance McHenry County, talks about his road to recovery,
emphasizing that recovering addicts need hope and a strong
sense of what they are good at to stave off addiction.
Flames held high
at Badura prayer vigil
Though painful to hear, stories like Medinger’s drive home
the point that heroin is a very real problem among the
community’s youths, said Oconomowoc High School Principal
Joseph Moylan. “If we shy away from this discussion as a
community, we are putting kids at risk,” he said.
Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel also did his
best to put things in perspective.
He said he has met too many families who are still
struggling to comprehend how this addiction sunk its claws
into their child. They’ve slid report cards across the
table, marked with all A’s — or produced photographs of
their child in a Boy Scout or team uniform.
“They wanted to convince me that their child wasn’t a bad
child.” Schimel said. “Out of all of these parents who’ve
experienced these tragedies, I’ve yet to meet the one where
their child was the ‘bad’ child.”
Schimel also shared figures that highlight the epidemic.
Wisconsin has seen the number of opiate-related deaths per
year nearly quadruple from 2000 to 2011, he said, jumping
from 2.19 per 100,000 to 8.08 per 100,000. The number of
visits to hospitals for heroin and opiate overdoses has also
quadrupled. Using Narcan, EMS and hospital personnel — along
with heroin users themselves — have brought more than 5,000
people who’ve overdosed back from the brink of death this
Additionally, Waukesha County has submitted the
second-highest amount of heroin to the state crime lab,
which Schimel attributes to both the prevalence of the drug
and the county’s aggressive policy to thwart it. Another
telling figure, he said, is that needle exchanges in the
southeastern Wisconsin region have jumped from 170,000
needles exchanged in 2008 to more than 700,000 in 2012.
“Every way you measure this, we’re in trouble,” Schimel
said, noting that figures like traffic deaths have
fluctuated from year to year, while the amount heroin deaths
has not stopped climbing.
“If we saw traffic deaths going up and up and up like this,
what would be prepared to do about it?” he asked. “I think
we’d do crazy things. Like putting a roundabout every 200
Gains are being made using options like the drug treatment
court, Schimel said, but stemming the tide of addiction will
require continued funding and potentially drastic measures.
“Are we making progress? Yes. But we are driving a Model A
and the problem just blew by us in a red Ferrari.”
High school seniors share their stories
A trio of high school seniors shared their experiences with
the devastation heroin can cause. Augie Badura and Emma Pond
spoke of the brothers they lost to addiction, while Ashley
Herbst spoke of how she battled back from the brink.
Augie, 17, said he lost his older brother Archie, 19, in
May. Archie, he said, was extensively involved with the St.
Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Nashotah and beloved by the
“We thought he might someday grow up to work at the church,”
Augie said. “Not be dead at 19 years old.”
After a childhood filled with fun, friends and laughter,
Augie said his brother started smoking marijuana in high
school, rationalizing that it was the best cure for his
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Efforts to send
him to boot camp could not halt his developing addictions,
With the assistance of counselors and other school staff,
Archie was able to graduate in 2013 — a milestone that meant
a lot to him and his family.
But, Augie said his family could see him slipping away after
“He turned down great schools and job opportunities,” he
said. When Archie started using opiates and told his
brother, Augie said that he thought it was just a phase and
didn’t tell his parents. When Archie confided later that he
had used heroin for the first time, he told his brother he
would never do it again. In retrospect, Augie said he should
have sidestepped all of those assurances and
rationalizations to get him the support he needed.
Senior Emma Pond shared memories of her brother Daniel
juggling, doing the “Carlton” dance from “Fresh Prince of
Bel-Air” and making people laugh in any situation. He became
addicted to pain pills after he received them during
recovery from a torn ACL, she said.
Senior Ashley Herbst shared her story as a recovering
addict, who was able to battle back from the brink after her
secret use of heroin was discovered by Milwaukee Police on
She had been at the point, she said, where she was using all
of her money on drugs and “wasn’t using to feel high
anymore, but to feel normal.”
Herbst will be nine months sober this month.
Moylan offered measures he believes can help combat these
addictions before they begin.
First, he said, students must realize that they’re not
invulnerable, a phenomenon he called the Superman myth.
“They believe ‘it can’t happen to me, I’m invincible, I can
quit whenever I want,’” he said. “So you drink a little
beer, you smoke a little pot; it’s no big deal, everybody
does it. But, no heroin addict ever started by using
Parents bear a responsibility, he added, and some must ditch
preconceptions about their own behaviors.
“They believe things like ‘I did it when I was younger, so
it can’t be that bad,’ or ‘If I take the keys and nobody
drives, it’s OK to have a drink at my house.’ These messages
to our children reinforce the need for our kids to use to
feel better,” he said. “It starts them on a path we may not
see them return from. We need to end the adult participation
in the cycle.”
Moylan also suggested parents and other adults make use of
the prescription drop-off at the police station.
“You have to know what a gift having a drop-off in the
community is,” he said, noting that pills can’t just be
returned to the pharmacy. “You have an opportunity to get
those drugs now out of your house when you’re not using them
and nobody will get into your personal supply.”
‘There is a face and a name to it’
Adding student and family testimonials to the program has
made it a more powerful presentation, Moylan said, adding
that the program was presented to students at the high
school and middle school earlier on Tuesday.
“It makes it more real for the kids,” he said. “There is a
face and a name to it. These are kids that they see every
day, that they like, that are popular. It’s heroism for them
to stand in front of the peers and share their story.”
NASHOTAH — A brief candlelight prayer vigil
for Archie Badura, held at the St. Joan of Arc Catholic
Church in Nashotah, immediately followed the Stairway to
Heroin II presentation on Tuesday evening.
Augie Badura, center, and
parents Andy and Lauri are overcome with emotion Tuesday
evening at the prayer vigil for Archie Badura, who died of a
heroin overdose May 15. The vigil was held at the St. Joan
of Arc Catholic Church in Nashotah.
Those in attendance
held their candles high and slowly cycled through the church
as the young man was fondly remembered — and light was shed
on the addiction he and others have dealt with, or will deal
Members of St. Joan of Arc
Catholic Church raise their candles Tuesday evening as “This
Little Light of Mine' is performed as part of a prayer vigil
for Archie Badura.
People were invited to
bring a picture of a loved one that has been lost to
addiction, suicide or mental illness to place on Archie’s
memorial, or to bring along someone who is in recovery from
— Enterprise Staff
A closer look
at random drug policies in other districts
Pewaukee has had policy in place for 10 years, Arrowhead for 8
Perttunen - Enterprise Staff
Oct. 9, 2014
OCONOMOWOC — As the
Oconomowoc Area School District fine-tunes a random
drug-testing policy to bring before district parents and its
school board, the architects of that plan say they are aware
that other schools in the county have approved similar
The policy being mulled in Oconomowoc would require students
to comply with random drug tests as a condition of
participation in any school athletics, clubs or
organizations. Testing could extend to other school-related
privileges, such as the ownership of a parking pass, as
“The impetus for this policy stems from the students we lost
last year due to drug use,” said Lisa Dawes, the district’s
director of student services and special education.
Pewaukee policy has been in place for decade
Pewaukee High School’s random drug testing policy has been
in place for a decade now.
PHS Principal Marty Van Hulle remembered when the district
started discussing the policy in February 2003. The school
board had charged administration with the task of surveying
the community to gauge what steps they wanted the district
“We were just trying to deter students from using drugs,”
Van Hulle said. “There was no watershed moment, we were
trying to be proactive.”
The policy applies to any club or group that has an adviser
or coach. It applies to approximately 75 percent of the
student body, Van Hulle estimated.
OHS Athletic Director Scott Raduka said linking random drug
tests to the combination of privileges proposed in his
district could affect an estimated 1,043 students, which
affects approximately 70 percent of the student body.
Currently, no OASD students are tested.
The first time a student tests positive for banned drugs in
Pewaukee, no matter what type of drugs, he or she will miss
30 percent of the season, Van Hulle said. The second offense
yields a 50 percent suspension and the third offense is a
lifetime ban from participation. Results are not referred to
To date, Van Hulle said the policy had its desired impact
and has not needed to be tweaked in the last 10 years.
“The key was that it had to be truly random and
confidential,” he added. “The testing company generates a
list of numbers, that we then match to the corresponding
students. If a student is absent, they don’t take the test
that day, but are on the list for next month.”
In the system used by PHS, even the dates are randomly
generated. The whole testing and communication of results is
handled by the professionals at the laboratory, Van Hulle
Extending the policy to include students’ parking privileges
is something his district did not consider, he said, and he
is not aware if that can be done.
“This policy took a lot of time, a lot of communication and
a lot of involvement with students and parents,” Van Hulle
said. “It’s not an overnight decision, to say the least.”
Now that it’s been implemented, Van Hulle said he’d
recommend a similar policy for every school district.
“I don’t think that it’s ever a bad thing to try and deter
kids from things that are unhealthy or illegal,” he said.
Confidentiality is key at Arrowhead High
Arrowhead Union High School formulated its random drug test
policy just two years after Pewaukee’s was put into place.
Superintendent Craig Jefson was just starting his tenure
during its first year of implementation, but knew that the
policy was riding a wave of community support.
“There was extensive surveying done of the community and
parents,” he said. “They felt like it was everybody’s
responsibility to deter students from drug use — including
law enforcement, medical professionals and also the
responsibility of community members and parents. They felt
the school had to play a role and asked what we were going
to do about it.”
Maintaining strict confidentiality and clear objectives have
been crucial parts of the process, Jefson said. Random
number generators generate numbers monthly, which correspond
to 20 students tested per campus.
The results of those tests, administered by ProHealth Care
professionals during the school year, are only shared with
Jefson as yearend figures, he said, and the assistant
principals are the only ones who know individual results.
“It’s as confidential as possible,” he added. “We didn’t
want to become Big Brother, we didn’t want to be punitive.
We just wanted to give students another reason to say ‘no.’
If we’re the excuse that they need, let us be that excuse.”
The district didn’t want anything else to muddy the
objective when crafting the policy, Jefson said. Linking the
testing to parking passes was debated, but ultimately the
district didn’t want to go that route and was uncertain if
it was legally permissable.
Jefson estimated 60 percent of the student body is involved
in athletics, 30 percent in music and 35 percent in other
activities. The cumulative cost for testing is $12,000 to
$15,000, which is picked up by the school district. With
that level of investment, Jefson said it is important to
focus on results.
“Though we don’t have many tests come back positive — and
most of those are for nicotine — the assistant principals
feel strongly that this policy is a deterrent,” he said. “To
back that up, there have been student surveys and anecdotal
conversations with students where they cite it as a
There must be vigilance in being aware of unintended
consequences, Jefson said.
“A kid who tests positive could continue using chemicals and
decide to quit the activity where he or she was doing
positive things,” he said. “This would be counterproductive.
Coaches have to help students who may be reactionary to
realize that we are offering help.”
And the parents still play the most important role, he
What will Oconomowoc do?
Whether to implement the policy in the Oconomowoc district —
which would apply from seventh grade on up — is a decision
that the school board will discuss and make a decision on
over the course of the next few months. Board President Don
Wiemer said this topic was visited nearly 10 years ago and
tabled because of concerns, such as how the district would
deal with false positives.
Some of those concerns have been addressed since then, with
input from the district administrative team, alcohol and
other drug abuse coordinator, high school principal,
athletic director and the district’s AODA committee.
A parent information night, where residents will be
empowered to ask questions on the proposed policy, is being
held at the Oconomowoc Arts Center at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27.
Community U to
tackle area drug problem
VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News
Oct. 1, 2014
growing problem of illegal drugs, especially heroin, is a
community issue that Hartford Rotary’s new president, Police
Chief David Groves, hopes the club and the community can
address together and see results.
Part of that effort includes a program called Hartford
Community U at Hartford Union High School at 6:30 p.m.
“I looked around and thought about what things we (the
Rotary) would like to address as a pressing issue,” Groves
said. “It’s our goal to share hope with the many members of
our community dealing with the issue of illegal drug use.”
The free community-wide forum will feature presenters from
the perspectives of education, advocacy, prevention and law
enforcement. There will also be presentations from family
members and former addicts regarding the impact these issues
are having on lives.
“Narcotic abuse and addiction has become an epidemic in our
society,” Groves said. “The Hartford Rotary Club believes
that an informed community is a safer community.”
Groves said the drug problem affects the community in ways
that aren’t easily seen.
Groves said his department has been dealing with local human
“Some have confided in us that even when they tell people
about an upcoming drug test, still one in four don’t pass,”
Groves said. “So this is not a small thing.”
Groves said Washington County in 2012, according to the
Wisconsin Department of Justice, was one of the seven
counties in the state that submitted 30 or more heroin cases
to the state crime lab.
“That same year the county was also in the top 11 for heroin
overdoses,” Groves said.
Al Davies, EMS coordinator at Aurora Medical Center in
Hartford, has worked to train local police officers and
emergency personnel how to administer Narcan, a drug used to
revive people who have overdosed on heroin.
“There’s been a serious increase in the volume of people we
see who have used it,” Davies said. “There’s been a marked
rise this year from last year. I know Narcan has been used
on several occasions by emergency personnel around here.”
Groves said many robberies and other crimes committed in
Hartford and the area are related to people needing money to
purchase illegal drugs.
Washington Co. events
Ozaukee Co. events
Waukesha Co. news
Washington Co. News
West Bend Daily News
Ozaukee Co. News Graphic
| Oconomowoc Enterprise