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Let me begin with two simple but powerful words -- Thank you. Since my office launched The Fly Effect -- a statewide Heroin prevention public awareness campaign -- in late September 2013, many of you have contacted us asking how you can help fight Heroin abuse in your communities.
Chris Guthrie, a special education teacher at Brookfield East High School in Waukesha County, reached out to my office after hearing about The Fly Effect. Until he lost a beloved student and began learning more about Heroin, Guthrie said he was unaware of the extent of the problem. He and his former student’s parents, though still grieving the loss of their teen-aged son, wanted to partner to educate their community. Instead of shying away from a problem facing every corner of the state, they wanted to confront it head-on, coordinate with other local stakeholders and work toward saving lives. A community presentation is scheduled for January 22, 2014, at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center in Brookfield. The Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) will have a special agent in charge, who specializes in Heroin, participate and serve as a resource for attendees. We’ll also have materials for distribution. I applaud the efforts of Mr. Guthrie, those he has enlisted to help inform his community and the many others across Wisconsin who’ve spearheaded similar activities to develop their own community-based programs to fight Heroin.
Together we’ve made progress by generating this important conversation, but we need to keep up the momentum. I promise you, those who profit from trafficking Heroin and other drugs will persist in their deadly criminal enterprise if left unchecked. Take a look at the numbers. By mid-November of this year, our DCI field office in Milwaukee saw a 109% percent increase in the volume of Heroin seized by special agents. The number of Heroin samples sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for analysis continues to grow with a nearly 63 percent increase in 2013 in the overall number of samples analyzed compared to 2012. An updated map is available on the DOJ website, www.doj.state.wi.us.
We need to counter the crimes of dealers and traffickers by holding them accountable through enforcement efforts, but also by educating their would-be customers to prevent them from ever trying Heroin, or a likely precursor – prescription drugs. Julie, a former addict who’s incarcerated and newly featured in our Fly Effect campaign, sums up why public awareness is critical. Having watched friends overdose and currently serving time in prison for first-degree reckless homicide, Julie says in her video that Heroin takes everything from you, “And it changes you into a monster that you don’t even know. You look in the mirror and you don’t even know who you are, and that’s [the] reality with drugs. It’s not fun, and it’s not a party. It’s not, ‘Oh, we’re just going to try this once, and that’s it.’ Don’t even go there. Don’t even tempt fate.” Heroin, she knows, is unlike other drugs.
There are a number of new ways in which we’ll be promoting this message of prevention and The Fly Effect campaign across Wisconsin throughout 2014. The campaign’s TV spot is airing in movie theaters statewide. We’ve also developed a second TV spot for air on local and cable TV stations statewide. You can preview both spots on our website – www.doj.state.wi.us. Additionally, the Outdoor Advertising Association of Wisconsin is placing Fly Effect billboards in various communities across the state on a rotating basis. We’ve also created new posters to be shared through social media, or in local businesses and schools. By sharing www.TheFlyEffect.com and this prevention message in whatever way you can, you too can play a role in saving lives from the scourge that is Heroin.