Waukesha County Health & Human Services

One of five bus shelters throughout Waukesha County educating the public on the dangers of fentanyl. The artwork on the bus shelter allows people to see their own reflection.


WAUKESHA — Waukesha County Health & Human Services (HHS) is leading a community-wide initiative to increase awareness of fentanyl, according to a statement. Partnering with the Love, Logan Foundation and SOFA Inc. (Saving Others For Archie), they will be participating in many community events.

On five bus shelters throughout Waukesha County, “Fentanyl America’s New ‘F’ Word” is displayed along with pictures of Wisconsinites who have lost their lives to fentanyl poisoning. In the center of the artwork is a cellphone with a mirror — a powerful message reminding everyone who looks at their own reflection, “Don’t Let This Be You!”

The artwork is targeted towards college students and people in their 20s, according to County Executive Paul Farrow. A huge uptick in overdoses in that age range has been discovered, especially those that are fentanyl related.

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“It’s designed to give them an awareness that (even though) you don’t think it could happen to you, and you might be careful in what you’re doing, these individuals on this poster thought the same thing,” said Farrow. “Every now and then you kind of need a shock situation for people to realize this is something that is serious, and we have to make sure we understand what’s going on.”

And creating awareness in Waukesha County has been at the top of Farrow’s agenda for many years. On Aug. 1 of last year, Farrow declared fentanyl a community health crisis to bring more awareness and interoperability with nonprofit organizations that have been educating people on the present and real dangers of fentanyl.

“What you’re seeing now is that collaboration taking the next step forward. We’ve created an information kit for schools to use, for individual organizations to use and we’re actually sharing it with other counties across the state to let people know how deadly fentanyl is,” said Farrow.

The toolkit includes educational resources and posters about fentanyl and its impact under the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) “One Pill Can Kill” campaign.

Erin and Rick Rachwal lost their 19-year-old son, Logan Rachwal, in 2021 to fentanyl and have since started the Love, Logan Foundation. They have been spreading awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.

Logan’s face is one of the four pictured on the bus shelter signs. Along with Logan is Archie Badura, who died in 2014 at 19 years old. His mother Lauri Badura started SOFA. Katrina Henry, 29, of Waukesha and Sylvia Kush, 20, of Oconomowoc are the two other faces pictured.

“We really wanted to touch the hearts of people,” said Erin Rachwal. “That’s a big part of our foundation. We just really feel it’s the personal stories that will grab the attention of parents and families now so they can start talking to their kids and start conversations.”

A big message of the Love, Logan Foundation is that pills need to be scary, and youths need to be aware that you can’t just take anything from anywhere, said Erin Rachwal. Education, posters and campaigns like this contribute to create and develop that awareness. “Waukesha County has been so supportive. We’re really grateful for Paul Farrow and the whole group there. They just really embraced it. I don’t think it would be happening without their backing,” said Erin Rachwal. “We need to fight with education.”

Facing the facts

Provisional data, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, shows the number of fentanyl overdose deaths in Wisconsin grew by 97% from 2019 to 2021. Synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl, were identified in

91% of opioid overdose deaths and 73% of all drug overdose deaths. Cocaine deaths involving synthetic opioids have increased by 134% from 2019 to 2021, and it is estimated that as many as 40% of counterfeit pills contain enough fentanyl to be lethal.

Waukesha County specifically saw an increase in fentanyl usage in 2019. In 2020, the county experienced its worst year ever with 95 drug-related deaths, and in 2021 there were 92 drug overdoses, according to Farrow during his declaration of a community health crisis.

The challenge comes because people are purchasing what they think are prescription pills, but they are laced with fentanyl. And a very low dose, around two milligrams, is enough to kill someone, according to Farrow.

“The fentanyl crisis is not simply an illicit opioid problem to be solved,” said Waukesha County Health & Human Services Director Elizabeth Aldred in a statement. “It’s a towering dilemma that requires a swell of support and engagement to intentionally reduce fentanyl-related deaths and poisonings in Waukesha County.”

Narcan can be administered to an individual who has overdosed. Waukesha County has been doing Narcan training since 2017, and they are still looking at different ways to get Narcan training and awareness out to the public.

“We can get that out to the public so they know that there is a product out there that if somebody happens to overdose, there’s an opportunity to give them a second chance at life,” said Farrow.

The fight against fentanyl continues, and Waukesha County will continue raising awareness in partnership with many organizations contributing to educating the public about the deadly opioid.

“We want to ensure that we won’t have another family that has to go through what families are going through in Waukesha County,” said Farrow. “We are going to continue to do this until we see a decrease in the fentanyl impacts in Waukesha County.”

For more information, visit the Love, Logan Foundation at https://bit.ly/3l4syf0 and SOFA at.