GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s growing number of heroin cases could signal a problem with methamphetamine in the future, one drug expert cautioned this week.
Currie Myers, a former drug agent with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said Wednesday that spikes in the number of heroin cases are often followed by spikes in meth cases, Press-Gazette Media reported.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice has seen an 86 percent increase in meth-related arrests from 2011 to 2012, a sign the drug is gaining in popularity, he noted.
“Anytime I see a spike in heroin, I worry about meth coming in,” said Myers, who spoke at Rasmussen College’s Green Bay campus. “Heroin is the Cadillac of drugs, but meth isn’t far below it.”
Part of the problem is that meth can be less expensive than heroin and often easier to obtain. Meth has also become popular with motorcycle gangs and others seeking a high from a drug they might be able to manufacture themselves, he said.
Randall Petrouske, a Green Bay defense attorney who attended the presentation, said drugs have had a growing impact on his practice.
“Exposure to meth and heroin cases is growing by leaps and bounds,” he said.
Drug statistics confirm the trend. For example, between 2005 and 2010, the proportion of drug-related deaths involving heroin more than doubled, according to a 2012 state report on alcohol and drug use.
To help stem the tide, Gov. Scott Walker signed seven bills on Monday that aim to target the state’s heroin epidemic.
The package includes additional funding for new and existing treatment facilities. It also provides for short-term sanctions for parole and probation violators, which supporters say will help users by shifting the focus to treatment rather than punishment.
Information from: Press-Gazette Media, http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com