Heroin use is on the rise among teenagers across the nation and law enforcement along with Marathon County health leaders are hoping to reduce the problem locally.
Detective Sergeant Dan Goff from the Everest Metro Police Department says, “It appears there's a significant increase in heroin's abuse and use throughout all age groups in the area lately, including the younger generations."
Police say some teens may not even be aware of how dangerous heroin really is, even for first time users. The Marathon County Medical Examiner says his office is seeing more heroin related deaths. "A couple of our overdoses have recently been [users] in their twenties," explains John Larson
Deb Piskoty, Clinic Director at Wausau Health Services, blames the increase on accessibility, trauma and youth's inability to communicate. With young lives at stake, Piskoty is frustrated with the lack of services in the community to treat heroin use in adolescents.
"As a mother of six, I cannot accept that I have to tell people no. There has got to be a way to treat these kids before they become more entrenched in their addiction or they die in their addiction,” says Piscoty.
Piscoty says she is even taking her case to the state to fight for the right to rehabilitate minors. Which, currently, she unable to do at Wausau Health Services. Piscoty also told us with heroin use on the rise so are diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV.