Milwaukee County was struck by a rash of fatal drug overdoses this past weekend. Six people died in a 24-hour period.

The medical examiner's office hasn't confirmed whether heroin was to blame. But the drug frequently is, and it has killed hundreds of Wisconsinites in the past few years.

We revisit what we learned in our 2013 series, "In the Grip of Heroin," to examine what makes heroin so dangerous. There are at least three factors.


The number of people using heroin in Wisconsin has risen steadily over the last five years.


There’s been a dramatic increase in the number of heroin deaths in Milwaukee County.

Cassie Medved, Whitefish Bay High School

With dozens of young people dying every year of heroin overdoses, the Dept. of Justice is mailing packets of materials to high schools to educate students.


If there’s one issue winning bipartisan support in Madison, it’s legislation to fight heroin use.

Residents can drop off unused and unwanted prescription drugs at a number of locations around the community this weekend.  

The Drug Enforcement Administration is holding its seventh annual event to collect leftover medicines.

Sharyn Morrow, Flickr

Experts say many heroin addicts first get hooked on opiate-based prescription painkillers.

Wisconsin Department of Justice

Heroin has been taking a toll in Wisconsin – because of its highly addictive and devastating grip.


Many heroin users try to stop, but find they cannot free themselves from the hold the drug has on them.

Ann-Elise Henzl

There has been a dramatic rise in heroin use and fatal overdoses in Wisconsin. Last year, nearly 200 residents died using the illegal drug. It’s shown up in more than two-thirds of the state’s counties.