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Prescription Drug Abuse on the Rise

Bradley P Johnson

The Vilas County Sheriff says drug abuse continue to be a growing problem in the area.  Sheriff Joe Fath says the department works closely with Lac du Flambeau tribal police in its investigations. 

“Prescription medication, synthetic THC, heroin, those are the three big ones that we see affecting our communities.”

Lac du Flambeau tribal leaders declared a state of emergency last spring to address a growing drug problem on the reservation. 

Drug incidents also include a heroin-related overdose that resulted in a man’s death in Oneida County.  Two St. Germain residents were arrested and face sentencing next year.

Fath says drug investigations are time and resource intensive for the department.   

And he says the past four to six years have seen a particular rise in prescription drug abuse and related crimes. 

“Seems like more and more of our property crimes are related to people trying to steal things to use for drug sales. Or look for people that may have pills to break in and steal their drugs. So it’s a significant problem, it’s been rising.”

During recent prescription drug collections, agencies report an increase in the number of unused or outdated pharmaceuticals coming in. 

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