Latest grant sends clear message, local police said

By Jason Arndt

In a recent study conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Kenosha County ranked No. 1 of all 72 counties for heroin-related deaths, but local health officials continue to seek solutions for the epidemic.


Four months after the state Department of Health Services awarded Kenosha County a $225,000 Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention grant, which allowed distribution of overdose reversing drug Narcan to law enforcement agencies, the county received a $300,000 grant from the Department of Justice.

With the DOJ grant, according to a Kenosha County press release, the county plans to start an Opioid Overdose Reduction Project.

The reduction project, which links overdose survivors and their families with peer specialists, offers education and immediate recovery resources to residents after an overdose.

Kenosha Human Development Services, tasked with hiring a team of certified peer support specialists, is also spearheading short-term recovery efforts through the KARE Center, a licensed residential facility.

“Peer Support Specialists, people with training who themselves are in recovery, have proven invaluable in supporting others through treatment in our other behavioral health programs,” states Director LaVerne Jaros of Kenosha County Division of Aging Disability Services.

The hope, according to Jaros, is to reduce overdose deaths in Kenosha County.

“Our hope is to significantly reduce opioid overdoses and deaths,” she added.

From 2000 until 2008, Kenosha County reported 27 heroin-related deaths, but saw a 388 percent increase between 2009 through 2016, when it was 132.

The project also bolsters collaboration between local law enforcement agencies, first-responders and hospitals.

Local response
Like the rest of the county, the Village of Twin Lakes has seen an uptick in heroin overdoses.

According to Twin Lakes Police Chief Adam Grosz, whose department started carrying Narcan, the recent grant sends a clear message to the community.

“The message is clear that our local government entities in Kenosha County are very aware of the opioid problem facing our communities,” Grosz said. “We are doing everything that we can by dedicating as many resources as possible to address this issue at every level.”

Meanwhile, since his department added Narcan to its arsenal, Grosz said two lives have been saved.

“Twin Lakes Police Officers have administered Narcan on two occasions since officers began carrying it,” he said. “Both times the person who had overdosed recovered at the scene and was transported to the hospital for further treatment.”

Although it is unknown whether the two sought treatment upon discharge, the federal grant offers additional resources, and Grosz hopes to those suffering from addiction can recognize the solution.

“If this grant can provide additional resources for those addicted to opioids to get the help they need, then the community can begin to see that there are solutions out there to fight this epidemic.”

Along with state and federal resources, the Village of Twin Lakes expects to add another on Oct. 25, when K9 Rex joins the force.

Rex, who is undergoing training at a Campbellsport kennel, will aid local police in drug detection efforts through the use of his nose.


1 Comment

  1. Evelyn L Pizzala says:

    There will be a narcan training at the Salem Library, Oct 11th at 6pm, presented by Morgen Kebbekus, prevention specialist,ARCW.

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