Historic Heroin Arrests Lead to Crucial Time for Rehab Centers - WBAY

Historic Heroin Arrests Lead to Crucial Time for Rehab Centers

Updated:
Brown County -

The Brown County Sheriff's Office says right now it can't legally talk about what prosecutors are calling the largest heroin distribution ring bust in our area ever. Ten people appeared in court in connection with the case.

At the hearings, prosecutors said the suspects are involved with a massive heroin distribution network led by Jafari Mahonie of Chicago. They say all the suspects have roles at different levels of the drug ring, but the investigation is ongoing so the details of the case have been sealed.

In a statement Thursday, sheriff's Captain Jeff Sanborn writes in part:

"While I appreciate that the media is very interested in learning more about those particular matters, for legal reasons and pursuant to a court order, we are not able to comment on anything related to this investigation."

Drug rehab centers in Brown County say outreach to heroin addicts is now even more crucial. Now that law enforcement has managed to get some of the heroin off the streets in Brown County, drug rehab centers know now is the time to reach out to addicts, but connecting with them isn't always easy.

"You have people going through drug withdrawal. All of a sudden you have this opportunity now where maybe this is a chance for some more people to seek treatment," said Libertas Clinical Supervisor Tom Ritchie.

Rehab centers know they'll have to work quickly because it won't take long for new drug dealers to move in.

"Every day more stuff comes in from Milwaukee and Chicago. There's people running back and forth every day. There is so much money involved that other dealers will come into town, get other people hooked on heroin and they'll start moving it for them," said Bill Labine, Jackie Nitschke Center executive director.

Rehab centers say they are seeking help from recovering drug addicts.

"Finding those kind of people that are really doing a good job in their own recovery program because it is hard to do by yourself and people need that support. Especially for long term recovery." said Ritchie.

There is also a renewed effort to connect with families who may be hesitant to confront heroin issues.

"Families are so ashamed about their problem and nobody wants to talk about it even though everyone is affected by it. The goal is to give families permission that it is ok to ask for help and to talk about the problem. That's the main outreach because everybody is affected by it," said Labine.

Leaders of rehab centers believe filling treatment rooms and beds can cut into the demand for heroin, and go a long way in getting rid of heroin in Brown County and the crime that surrounds it.

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