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Increased purity of heroin compounds drug problem in Waukesha County
WAUKESHA -- Drug problems are not limited to big cities like Milwaukee.
Tuesday morning, leaders in Waukesha County addressed some of the drug issues in their communities during a forum hosted by Waukesha Drug Free Communities.
A room full of concerned community members learned that more people die because of opiates than homicides in Waukesha County.
Law enforcement said so far this year, they've seen an uptick in opiate and heroin use, keeping them busy investigating overdoses.
Frank McElderry is commander of the Waukesha County Metropolitan Drug Enforcement.
He said there's been one opiate related death within the last week and it's possible there could be another.
Officials said young people are getting their hands on heroin from drug dealers in Milwaukee who target them because they have money.
McElderry said heroin is the number one drug threat in Waukesha County, but said the growing problem starts with abusing something else first.
"The prescription medications proceeded the heroin addiction," he said. "The big problem we have with heroin obviously is that it's very prevalent. People are buying it and the potency levels are so deregulated with the dealers sometimes, you don't know what you're getting, which causes these overdose problems we're having in Waukesha, just more potent stuff."
McElderry said the heroin could be as much as 80 percent pure.
The average age for a user in Waukesha County is 22 years old.
Officials said they need the help of the community to solve this disturbing trend because they can't prosecute their way out of addiction.