This week on #LocalGovMatters Gwyn is joined by Rose Baier, a Criminal Justice Collaborating Council Coordinator in Chippewa Falls, and Justin, a recovering meth and heroin user.
A recent magazine article by the Wisconsin Counties Association says, “While heroin use continues to remain a focus for Wisconsin’s law enforcement and treatment services, meth has quickly surged to a point where the number of cases, arrests, and charges are on par with heroin.”
Rose explains what her position is in Chippewa County. She explains how the County is working to give alternatives to incarceration, they are working to help those that need help, and they are working to find treatment options and programs to people in jail. Rose also says they provide support to individuals after they have left jail or the program to make sure they keep moving forward. Rose talks about a comprehensive county service. Rose said she heard Justin say in a previous interview that we “can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” meaning that we need to look for ways to help people with addictions get the help they need.
Justin talks about his history with addiction, what caused him to get clean, and what’s keeping him clean. Justin says in his experience heroin is a physical addiction that requires one form of treatment, but says meth is a very different addiction and seems to me far more mental.
Rose explains why meth has made such a large come back after Wisconsin took steps years ago to stop meth labs. Several reports show that meth is being brought from the Mexican cartels through the Twin Cities.
An insightful part of the interview was when Justin talks about how easy, and relatively cheap, meth can be for anyone to find and start using. Meth is highly addictive and it doesn’t take much for people to find they can’t imagine surviving without it. Rose and Justin both warn people against meth saying that meth is being laced with other drugs and poisons and people really don’t know what they are using. Rose said they have started to find THC (marijuana) laced with meth, saying people think they are getting marijuana and end up being addicted to meth – which is exactly what the drug dealers want. Recently, the Department of Health Services announced the first death in Wisconsin which was attributed to synthetic marijuana.
Thank you Wisconsin Counties Association and League of Wisconsin Municipalities for collaborating on this podcast. Thank you also to Community Radio:
Rice Lake Radio – 105.5 FM
Waupaca Radio – 96.3 FM
Sun Prairie Radio – 103.5 FM