Drug Overdose Deaths: A Growing Problem in Wisconsin - WBAY

Drug Overdose Deaths: A Growing Problem in Wisconsin

Updated:
There were 601 traffic deaths in 2012 -- a sharp decrease from the 836 deaths on Wisconsin roads in 2003.

By comparison, the number of prescription drug and heroin overdose deaths increased from 189 in 2003 to 485 in 2012, an upward trend that's projected to devastate hundreds of Wisconsin households again this year.

If this trend continues, Wisconsin could seen have more deaths from drugs than from traffic crashes.

At age 29, Robin Bower's daughter Elizabeth became a statistic.

"She was just super, super happy and feeling great, and smiling, and laughing, and she went to her boyfriend's and didn't come back," said Bowers, who lives in Kewaunee.

Elizabeth became one of 485 people in 2012 who died from a heroin, or prescription drug overdose in Wisconsin. Drug investigators say these staggering numbers continue to climb.

"Because the trend is growing you have to worry about your family members getting into drugs and types of drugs that are extremely addictive. In so many ways it affects society. We're putting people through treatment all the time," said Investigator Jason Veeser of the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department and Kewaunee-Door Drug Task Force.

"I guess I kind of get angry first, and then I get frustrated because it seems like it is never ending. No matter what our wonderful law enforcement officers do for us, it is a continuing battle," said Bowers.

As investigators search for solutions, the families of thousands of victims in Wisconsin remain haunted by the effects of these dangerous drugs.

"Sad, you know? Wishing it hadn't happened and she was still here with us," Bowers said, thinking of her daughter. "Not knowing what was going on with her and I'll never know. You know?"

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