Use of pain killers, heroin up across state

Posted at 6:17 PM, Jan 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-15 19:18:48-05

It could get worse before it gets better.

That's what Attorney General Brad Schimel said when it comes to winning the battle against prescription pain killers and heroin.

There have been several local TV advertisements talking about the dangers of prescription pain killers and Schimel said the state has been getting a lot of feedback on its "Dose Of Reality" campaign.  

"This is shocking information and frankly we're not disappointed in that," Schimel said. "We intended to shock people a little bit because the problem is shocking."

Schimel has watched the rapid rise in opiate deaths as a district attorney and now as attorney general.

"More people died from prescription narcotic pain killers than heroin and cocaine combined," he said. "That is the big bogeyman."

The ads are aimed at bringing awareness to the epidemic. But with any success in reducing the number of people dependent on pain killers, comes another problem.

"People who had become addicted needed a drug and they turn to heroin," Schimel said. "We can't just magically waive a wand and people who are addicted to opiates will suddenly not be addicted."

Heroin deaths are also way up. The drug is coming into Wisconsin from Chicago. Schimel said he supports federal efforts to go after Mexican Drug King Joaquin 'El Chapo" Guzman and charge him in the U.S.

"These drug cartels have become filthy rich off of the backs of people becoming addicted here," Schimel said.