Brown County holds community meeting on opioid crisis

DEA issues a warning on highly addictive and brightly-colored fentanyl.
DEA issues a warning on highly addictive and brightly-colored fentanyl.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 5:44 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Several family members, friends, and neighbors who lost a loved one to opioids say enough is enough.

Brown County officials held a listening session on the opioid crisis Monday night giving residents a safe space to share their stories on the dangers of addiction.

Dozens of the local residents who spoke say the community needs to actively push back against a drug problem that appears to only be getting worst.

“Over the past two years, I needed CPR from the paramedics and Narcan five times,” a man who admitted to using heroin said at the event.

It took place at Backstage at the Meyer on 101 S. Washington St in Green Bay from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

One by one, folks stood in front of the crowd. They came with stories of how opioids have destroyed their lives. Some shared their own personal battles.

“I would be dead if it wasn’t for that program. They kept me out of prison, my kids are being returned to my care, they put me through treatment. So for that, I am so grateful,” A woman who shared her name as Erin said.

Tom Farley, the brother of late actor Chris Farley, hosted the listening session. Chris died of a drug overdose and was well-known for his work on Saturday Night Love and the movies “Tommy Boy” and “Beverly Hills Ninja.”

He was also a Wisconsin native.

“My brother died of a drug opioid overdose 25 years ago, and I’m still out here talking about it. I guess that’s what really surprises me is that not only have we not learned about the dangers of these drugs, but the drugs themselves have actually gotten worse,” Tom Farley said.

Others shared the stories of their children who passed away from an overdose.

Sandra Ranck says her son mitch began at 16-years-old struggling with substances and by his early 20s - he started using heroin. By the age of 27, he died of a fentanyl overdose.

“I am a heartbroken, angry mother. And if I could help anybody, and I’m sure everybody sitting here has lost somebody to drug abuse. The hot sauce on all of this for me observing it, and having been in it for a decade, is the fentanyl piece,” Ranck said.

Brown County officials said the event was a safe space for those to share and listen to how the opioid crisis is impacting lives in our community.

On September 1, Brown County declared the powerful opioid fentanyl a community health crisis. As a result, officials are directing funds to support programs and establishing the Brown County Overdose Task Force.

Brown County leaders talk to the community about the fentanyl problem