Year in Review: Drugs in Northeast Wisconsin

Door County deputies seized 36 packages of the drug Fentanyl a number of syringes and needles during a traffic stop near Sister Bay, June 8, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Dept.)

(WLUK) -- Law enforcement and lawmakers both spent 2017 focusing on the drug problem in Wisconsin, specifically heroin and other opioids.

"There are just a series of bills that provide more tools, that provide more assistance," said Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) after he signed 11 H.O.P.E. bills into law. The bill added money for things like treatment centers and addiction training for doctors.

"As long as there are families being affected, as long as there is loss of life, as long as there is a cost to society from a human side and from just a plain dollars and cents side, we're going to be trying to curb the tide," State Rep. John Nygren said.

Nygren knows the toll all too well. His daughter, Cassie Nygren, has had a years-long public battle with drugs.

That came to a head earlier this year when she and her boyfriend were arrested and charged with providing drugs which caused the death of 31-year-old Jennifer Skeen and Skeen's unborn child. The sheriff's department says Skeen overdosed on Fentanyl in June.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that captured headlines this year.

"We're not seeing it every day but it is becoming more and more rampant as it moves into this area," counselor Jake Struhelka told FOX 11.

The drug is so strong that police say users may not even know it's there because it can be added to other drugs without changing the appearance.

A Menasha police officer got sick after he came into contact with fentanyl while responding to a call of an overdose death.

"He became very lethargic, having a difficult time moving his extremities," said Menasha Police Chief Tim Styka.

Thankfully, the officer recovered.

Another drug making news this year: meth

"Meth is so toxic. You're really putting garbage in your body," said Ellen Sorensen, Drug Free Communities Coordinator.

Police say they continue to see a rise in meth use. The drug also popped up in some unexpected places.

In one of the most notable cases of the year, Menominee Tribal Police issued a warning after a bag filled with meth was found mixed in with a child's Halloween candy.

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