Wisocnsin Department of Justice

The rate of heroin use in Wisconsin has hit epidemic levels. In 2016, more people died in Wisconsin from overdosing on opioids than in car accidents.

Wisconsin could receive $13 million to help fight opioid addiction, if Congress approves President Obama's request for $1.1 billion to tackle the issue. Local leaders are urging passage of the plan, with Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy reporting that, in the county, nearly 900 people have died of opioid abuse. “That's twice as much as homicides, twice as much as any auto accidents,” Murphy says.

Murphy says people here need help.


Eight-hundred and eighty-eight. According to a recent study, that's how many people died from drug overdoses in Wisconsin between 2012 and 2015. 

Sharyn Morrow, Flickr

Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is putting forward an idea to help the country reduce its heroin epidemic. His plan would impact senior citizens.

Johnson says the U.S. must tighten its border security to stop the flow of illegal drugs into the country. Yet he knows plenty of people develop heroin addictions because they first become hooked on opioid painkillers.

The senator wants to tweak Medicare rules so they don’t inadvertently encourage physicians to over-prescribe drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin to seniors.

Michelle Maternowski

Living with a family member addicted to drugs can devastate loved ones. They can struggle to set boundaries and be overwhelmed by anger, resentment and fear. All the while, more and more families are dealing with the problem. The number of people in Milwaukee County alone dying of drug overdoses is in the hundreds and continues to increase.

Andrew Burton/Getty Images

There were unpleasant moments on the Assembly floor Tuesday, when a Republican representative made an obscene gesture at Democratic leader Peter Barca. The initial irritant was a news release GOP Assemblyman Bob Gannon of Slinger issued last week, complaining about Milwaukee’s homicide rate and black unemployment. Democrats demanded an apology. Gannon apologized, but only for making what he called, an improper gesture in the heat of battle. Earlier in the day, members of both parties came together on several issues including four bills aimed at preventing heroin addiction.


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.

On Wednesday night, city leaders will hold a meeting on the west side for people concerned about heroin's grip.


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.

Gov. Walker is signing seven heroin-related bills into law on Monday, including one to boost state funding for treatment programs.

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.