Skip to main content

It is very easy to point a finger at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for the alarming rate of heroin over-doses in his state in part due to his refusal to accept federal funding for the health care of the most needy under President Barrack Obama`s ACA brand new Health Care law. After all, Heroin addiction is a health-care case issue at its worst. His silence so far on this heath issue is compounded with his Mental Health facilities under fire for the alarming rate of suicides at that institution.

A parent`s worst nightmare since Scott Walker became governor - never before seen in this state of Wisconsin has become a real life sobering wake-up call. Their chilren, "who know not`what they do" - have joined the march to heroin addiction and ultimate over-dosed death in numbers that have eclipsed the numbers of Cocaine fatalities in Wisconsin for the past year, according to this report that has Wisconsin suburbanite folks in panic.

So far, at this writing, the Scott Walker Administration has stood by silent as the flames
of alarm within communities are begining to burn out of control as our young people - are being felled into their graves by this epidemic without health care safe guards. The interesting issue for the most part, victims are young whites and live throughout his political base in the suburbs, with perhaps the exception of one young lady in Milwaukee that I include in my first link above to this diary.

Olivia Marmolejo, 21, included among the top group died May 17 of an apparent drug overdose. Although investigators are still waiting for toxicology results, Lisa said she's certain heroin played a role in Olivia's death. Lisa is Olivia`s sister and lives in Milwaukee. This over-dose case in only one of what has come to be an alarming heroin epidemic among our young children in Wisconsin. It is not being treated as being the result of Melon-sized calves burros bringing heroin to our kids. These are cases of home-grown addicts and dealers at best without adult health care supervision in this state of Wisconsin.

It's not happening just in Milwaukee County. Waukesha recorded 13 fatal heroin overdoses last year, compared with five in 2011 and two in 2010. Racine and Washington counties had five heroin overdose deaths in 2012. Ozaukee County had one heroin overdose death in 2012 and 2011, and already this year, heroin is suspected in two deaths.

So what are parents to do? Well, since its our own kids, let change the laws. Help our addicted children with treatment. No more jail.

Help our children with Treatment? Any strung-out heroin user surely would laugh at the response coming from Scott Walker`s republican lap-dogs, one who has been victimized
by the heroin crazy wave.

Republican law-maker confronts his own daughter`s heroin addiction by introducting legislation in her name.

      Republican lawmaker confronts daughter's heroin addiction, seeks new legislation
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Cassie Nygren, in the Marinette County Jail in Marinette, shows a tattoo that reads: “By His wounds I have been healed.” She has been in and out of treatment programs and jail because of her heroin addiction

This jail photo and text above of Cassie Nygren goes back to October 2013 taken while she sat in a Marinette County jail prior to the developments over Heroin use in the White-suburbs of Milwaukee that prompted this diary. What is known, she is one of the lucky survivors (barely), of the long reach of death by overdose to heroin. Her father`s support weighs heavy.

One could fairly say that many folks have used Heroin in Wisconsin and other drugs in the suburbs, but by the same token one has to also say that such an opiate abuse had never been plaguing white communities as we see today. One has to wonder what`s going on? Can this be the melon-sized calves from drug running white suburbanites that has Repblicans in Wisconsin in total panic?

Her case and others not so lucky, has brought Wisconsin legislators and specifically Republican law maker John Nygren, her father, to introduce what he calls the HOPE Agenda, for Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education. He also appears in videos for a Wisconsin Department of Justice heroin prevention campaign called The Fly Effect.

While witnessing this deadly Heroin epidemic swallow entire neighbhoods of young and old folks of color to their graves in Milwaukee in all the years I have lived in Wisconsin I wonder, and I am not alone asking "why panic now?". Black Milwaukee Journal Sentinal columnist James E. Causey wrote the following quote also.

Quote: "But when I hear of summits in the suburbs to focus on drug use and strategies to address a growing heroin problem, I`m taken aback. Where were these efforts when heroin was destroying Milwaukee`s inner city?"

In all fairness, Mr. James E. Causey`s question requires a stunningly true response. On the other hand, this epidemic killing young white drug users here in my own backyard is a sad and rude awakening. As a father myself, I can feel the pain of this law maker when he witnessed and read what his daughter said of her struggles to addiction to Heroin and other Opiates.

By no means is this a Republican or a Democrat`s nightmare alone. However, never before have I seen law makers face this Opiate killing machine requiring legislation after losing one of their own to this Heroin Terminator. This killing machine has sucked Wisconsin`s suburb white youth and is oozing into this metropolis Gotham-like-City of Milwaukee:

""I wanted to get very high" ," she said. "I remember cooking it in the spoon. And I remember sucking it into the syringe. Beyond that, I don't remember."

She overdosed. The people who were with her began to flee.

Her mother, who came home to shut the windows because of a late-afternoon storm, ran into a young man on the front sidewalk. He had been with Cassie. Amy Harris says she raced into the house, found her daughter passed out, called her ex-husband and then called 911.

John Nygren rushed to the scene. He saw his daughter on the bathroom floor, a needle in her arm and her face turning purple.

"I tried to clear her airway and help her breathe," he says.

More than four years have passed since the overdose.

Cassie Nygren has lived to tell her horror stories of Heroin addiction. For Parents and others of the not so lucky panic has settled in. What I have learned in this life what I write today I can safely assert, that Heroin addiction, no matter the enviornment it infests is akin to a run away train. It can`t be stopped. It is indeed a lethal poppy-field flower disguised to kill. Nevertheless, any legislation to combat all type of Opiates is welcomed -- I would assume.

Any law or rule enacted governing the fight of Heroin abuse will be too little too late for our young and old men and women who succumed to the viciousness of Heroin. It is an ongoing decease that no cure has yet to be found. Not even anti-drug abuse medications such as Narcan can stop or hold back to long reaching tentacles  of a Heroin habit -- and ultimate overdosed death. A strung-out heroin user takes Narcan only to clean self up for the next high. A long standing saying, that: "once an addict, always an addict" has come home to roost in our back yards.

A real bad health issue needs medical care, now. Scott Walker refuses to implement Obama`s Medicaid for the most needy -- and who else is more needy today here in my state of Wisconsin?

Let us ask Laura Pulsifer and her husband, another Milwaukee suburbanites family what they think and how Heroin in their midsts have affected them.

Laura Pulsifer vividly remembers the night her son, Luke, told her he used heroin.

                 This is the senior portrait of Luke Pulsifer of Elm Grove,
                                   who lost his life to a heroin overdose.

                                 Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Pulsifer woke up at 3 a.m. March 12 and realized her 19-year-old son hadn't returned home from visiting a friend. She texted him. Minutes stretched by. She sent another text. Finally, she called him.

"I did something really stupid, so stupid," Luke said. He was crying.

He told her he was at the Greenfield Municipal Center.

When she picked him up, she saw the bandages on his arms.

"What is all of this?" she said.

"I'm so sorry, Mom," he said. "It was heroin."

It was the drug that would kill the Elm Grove teen three months later.

Heroin summits are being held in Waukesha and Ozaukee counties as I write this diary. Although planned separately, both aim to bring together parents, law enforcement, business leaders, treatment providers and others to develop a strategy to address what many describe as a growing epidemic.
Across the state, heroin and opiate abuse is plaguing communities of every size. Last year in Milwaukee County, there were more deaths tied to opiate overdoses than there were homicides.
In Milwaukee County, the majority of fatal drug overdoses in 2013 were caused by opiates, and 48 of the 180 drug overdose deaths — about 27% — were attributed to heroin. Those numbers are preliminary and will fluctuate because some 2013 death investigations are still pending.

As noted above a state committee recently sent three bills promoted by a lawmaker whose daughter is seen in a jail photo in this diary, a heroin addict, to the Assembly. These bills, I can safely assume, are the product of the panic mentioned in my diary`s title.

The Pulsifers, shocked that heroin was in their community, wanted others to know about it. After Luke's death, they reached out to Chris Guthrie, one of Luke's teachers from Brookfield East High School, to see how they could help the school create programming.

With their alarming questions, the rush to stop this menacing heroin monster was triggered and suburbanites have launched another war on drugs. One that I can safely say will also fail. I hope I am wrong though.

2 Heroin Summits set:
Heroin summits that will bring together parents, law enforcement, businesses, treatment providers and others will be held this month in Waukesha and Ozaukee counties:

What: Waukesha Heroin Summit, "It's Not My Kid, Or Is It?"

Who: Open to all parents and community members

When: 6:30-9 p.m. Jan. 22

Where: Sharon Lynne Wilson Center, 19805 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield. Registration is free at itsnotmykid.eventbrite.com

What: Ozaukee Heroin Summit

Who: Open to the public and youths ages 12-17, who are encouraged to attend with their parents

When: 7-9 p.m. Jan. 29

Where: Ozaukee County Pavilion, W67-N890 Washington Ave., Cedarburg

"For they know not, What they do"

Users can never be sure what they are going to get.

"If the old heroin of the '70s came back, that heroin was maybe 3% to 5% purity. It was injected. It had the stigma of being a back-alley, inner-city drug. But now with high-purity heroin, you can snort it," said David Spakowicz.

Snorting heroin has always been the favorite to some. But today, young addicts mix the deadly heroin with other drugs or booze. That is a dealy combination that results in instant over-doze.

Heroin is highly addictive because of its interaction with the brain. Mixing with other drugs or opiates and liquor has long been seen as a no-no among old drug users.

What ever the outcome of this new drug war being waged in Wisconsin by politicans and specificafly parents, nothing calls for less as hope for success, for the sake of our children.

By the way, in real life this epidemic involving heroin use by our children is not even close to the Television series these same politicans cheer we know as "Breaking Bad" where the villian is a cocaine manufactoring machine seen as a hero by some who watch this program.

It appears that cocaine is now seen in the rear view mirror for getting high, as Cassie Nygren just wanted to get real high. Unfortunately, other have gotten real low and deep -- in their graves.

Originally posted to Ole Texan on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 07:27 AM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  They know not what they do. (6+ / 0-)

    No truer words...

    Thanks Ole Tex.

  •  Tipped, recced and republished to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexMex, JVolvo, ban nock, FarWestGirl

    I started with nothing and still have most of it left. - Seasick Steve

    by ruleoflaw on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 08:01:44 AM PST

  •  I'd almost be surprised if there's NOT (7+ / 0-)

    fentanyl involved. It's been showing up more and more as "heroin", because it's cheap per dose and easy to get. It's also just about impossible to handle safely and distribute into retail doses consistently.

    Although investigators are still waiting for toxicology results, Lisa said she's certain heroin played a role in Olivia's death.
    Users with consistent sources and consistent use patterns very rarely overdose. There are two scenarios that make up most overdoses- either the user has not used in some time, and has misjudged their tolerance, or the source of the drug has changed, and the new source is considerably more powerful.
    It is very easy to point a finger at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for the alarming rate of heroin over-doses in his state in part due to his refusal to accept federal funding for the health care of the most needy under President Barrack Obama`s ACA brand new Health Care law. After all, Heroin addiction is a health-care case issue at its worst.
    Sure, it's easy- it's just maybe not real accurate. Myself, I'd be pointing fingers at the whole way that drug abuse is treated in this country. In a lot of ways, a better answer would be to simply distribute narcotics to addicts in a standardized dose at a standardized price, so the vagaries of an underground distribution industry could be reduced.

    But getting blaming the governor of a state that happens to have a run of OD's? We had a batch in MA a couple years back- Was that Deval Patrick's fault?

    I really HATE to be in a position where I'm defending Walker, but blaming him in particular is blinding yourself to a much, much bigger problem.

  •  heroin in Alaska too (4+ / 0-)

    heroin has made a big comeback in the Anchorage/Matsu Valley area of Alaska. I am not sure that it is known for sure why, but one theory is that many folks got into oxycontin first. Now that the oxys are harder to get (Docs stopped being so loose with prescriptions), and very expensive on the black market, heroin has become more attractive. I'm told it is much cheaper than the oxys now. I am aware of a needle exchange in the area that goes through 50,000 kits a month, and that this number had doubled rapidly in 2012.  

    Power to the Peaceful!

    by misterwade on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 08:45:14 AM PST

  •  Milwaukee is the focal point, of course, due to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misterwade, VClib, joynow, FarWestGirl

    it's size and huge disparity in race/class/income inequality (breeding ground for hopelessness-->drug use).

    Dane County (Madison etc) has seen a surge of deaths and hospitalizations, too:

    In Dane County, heroin contributed to the deaths of 32 people through roughly the first 10 months of 2013, according to Barry Irmen, director of operations for the county Medical Examiner's Office.
    That’s up 33 percent over all of the year before, and a more than 350 percent increase from four years ago, Irmen said.
    ---
    According to Public Health Madison and Dane County, 292 people went to county hospitals in 2012 because of opiates, up from 271 in 2011 and 114 in 2006
    .
    Another aspect of combating the problem:
    Scott Stokes, director of prevention services for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin and coordinator of a statewide needle exchange program, said the bills are a good start.

    Stokes’ organization gives free doses of naloxone to opiate users who watch a short training video on how to use the drug and asks them to report back any time they use it.

    Like other measures, the number of “peer saves” reported to the center has grown. In 2013, users reported administering Narcan more than 1,000 times, up from 519 in 2011.

    While I believe Walker is guilty of many things, the rising heroin problem has several "fathers": WI jobless problem; our race/class inequality issues in WI + disintegrating family/social support structure as it relates to the poor; the jobless recovery from 2007-08 economic crash; etc.

    Walker certainly isn't helping on ANY of these fronts.

    "But I do apologize, JVolvo, for you are arbiter of all that can and cannot be discussed and I bow down to your supremacy when it comes to what can be written on this website." WinSmith 1/22/2014 - "OK" JVolvo 1/23/2014 (sorry, Clive)

    by JVolvo on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 09:22:37 AM PST

  •  When the war (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    misterwade, ban nock

    in Afghanistan began, I speculated that I wouldn't be surprised if we started seeing heroin use rise in this country.  Seemed like another one of those opportunities for the CIA to raise money for its many black-ops it wanted to keep off the books.  I'm probably reaching into conspiracy territory here, but anymore my conspiracy theories can hardly keep up with reality.

    p.s.  I know in SW Ohio they are having the same problems with heroin as you show in WI.

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

    by TracieLynn on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 09:44:50 AM PST

  •  H is a big problem (5+ / 0-)

    in the expensive private high schools in wealthy DC suburbs.  These are the very schools that parents send their kids to so they don't have to be exposed to the drugs of the public schools.  

    Money can not protect kids from addiction.  It does however help if one needs treatment.

  •  the market price in the towns I'm familiar with (0+ / 0-)

    for raw opium, has risen from around 3 or 4 hundred a kilo to a thousand or more.

    Market meaning "the market" where everyone buys all goods and sells any goods they have to sell. Usually the money changer buys, gold, silver, any currency, and opium.

    I think higher prices are driven by access to Burma's refineries, where as before opium was smoked as is, for local consumption.

    Addiction rates remain about the same in villages. The only glaring difference is if the villages are relocated to the road. Newly created poverty from the move seems to generate addiction and alcoholism too.

    I'd never considered where heroin ends up, only saw it as a good cash crop to level out the vagaries of rice, husbandry, and hunting. Opium also buys health care and clothes.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 10:28:48 AM PST

  •  Heroin is serious nasty shit. (0+ / 0-)

    It was always that way and will remain that way.  Who uses it is now a huge issue. It's not just the minorities. One of the "select" has a daughter who is now an addict. There is no cure for this medical condition.

    Well I take that back. There is one cure. It's called death. Granted it doesn't save the patient, but it does end the disease. However that isn't really a good option as we are trying to keep the patient alive and functioning at a high level.

    News flash Mr. Nygren. This is what you were elected to do for ALL of the citizens in your state on EVERY issue. Not just those that touch on your life. You are a de facto physician of the state and what is the prime directive of any competent doctor? "First, do no harm."

    While I can give the man credit for doing what he is currently doing, I cannot forgive him for all the things he has participated in that directly harms others. Maybe he is changing his spots, but I really do not think so. It has all the hallmarks of the typical republican one trick pony. Just like any other, it will die as soon as his child is out of the spotlight.

    Call me cynical if you like. I don't much care. I have seen too many similar cases parade past my eyes. It's the offspring of someone important. Something must be done to save that person. It's the "special" circumstances, positions, people involved, and "uniqueness"  that have me rolling my eyes and muttering "Well aren't you a special kind of asshole."

    Give blood. Play hockey.

    by flycaster on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 11:07:44 AM PST

  •  The ACA does not provide much of a remedy (0+ / 0-)

    In the long run, perhaps -- big maybe -- making sure all these young people have access to treatment programs may prevent a few deaths. But in many places treatment programs don't exist, at least not with enough beds, so money is not the only barrier. And the stuff is so addictive that it's very hard to kick, even with the best medical care in the world. That's why people cycle through treatment programs and jail, without ever getting free of it.

    So yes, it's a huge tragedy. But the link to the governor refusing to expand Medicaid is not that strong a one.

    I don't know what the answer is in terms of public policy. I can see how you get to a war-on-drugs mentality, to shut down the dealers and their suppliers. I don't like where that's taken us, but I also don't see that treatment programs have been that effective.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site