Wisconsin counties see a spike in drug overdoses linked to counterfeit pills

Fox Cities law enforcement expects the trend to reach here, where they're already finding fentanyl-laced drugs
Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 4:25 PM CDT
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FOX CROSSING, Wis. (WBAY) - Multiple counties around the state have issued public health alerts due to a spike in drug overdoses.

They include Dane and Columbia counties, where communities have seen more and more people overdosing. Last week, Dane County experienced 7 overdoses in 24 hours.

Health officials say most cases are linked to counterfeit pills that were laced with fentanyl.

While the Fox Cities haven’t issued such a health alert, law enforcement officials say the trend will reach here eventually.

“I would say that, with confidence that we have seen an uptick in the prevalence and presence of fentanyl-related products in this area,” LWAM project director Jeremiah Winscher said.

“We are not immune in this area. If it’s not here already, it’s eventually going to get here, and so we have to do everything we can to combat that,” Lt. Ryan Carpenter with the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Office said.

Law enforcement tells us most overdose cases today are users buying heroin or other drugs on the street.

Fox Cities law enforcement is on alert. Members of the Lake Winnebago Area Metropolitan (LWAM) Enforcement Group drug unit say they’re starting to see counterfeit, laced drugs show up in this area and even initiated a few drug busts in Fond du Lac County this summer.

The MEG unit says while drug trends come and go, this current fentanyl trend is causing more harm than usual.

“People are always looking for a bigger high, and certainly with fentanyl if you lace a drug with fentanyl you’re going to get a bigger high. The problem is that people don’t know that it’s laced or they think they can handle it and then they end up overdosing.”

“All you need to do is just touch an object that has fentanyl in it -- and it’s microscopic, it gets into your skin immediately -- and you could start overdosing,” Carpenter added.

Law enforcement is asking anyone who has information about recent drug trafficking to contact their local police or sheriff’s office.

They say getting the word out is really all they can do right now. They hope by doing so, users will stay away from buying drugs on the street.

“Certainly wouldn’t condone anybody going and buying illicit drugs on the street in any fashion, but just the public’s awareness that this is occurring, I think is, is step one in trying to curb that problem,” Winscher said.

Law enforcement says the fentanyl trend hasn't reached the Fox Cities but it's a matter of time

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