Loading
Search
NEWS STORIES

Opioid deaths lead Forest Co. Potawatomi to launch major ad, law enforcement campaignSubmitted: 12/05/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com

Opioid deaths lead Forest Co. Potawatomi to launch major ad, law enforcement campaign
CRANDON - It became one funeral too many for Ned Daniels Jr.

"We had some funeral services," he said. "All of a sudden, it started to get repeated way too much."

Daniels had seen enough of his fellow Forest County Potawatomi tribal members die, killed by opioid abuse.

As soon as he was elected Tribal Chairman in February, the tribe went all-out in its fight against opioids.

On Wednesday, that fight reached a new level.


The tribe is rolling out an aggressive television ad and billboard campaign while giving almost $700,000 to local law enforcement to fight the drug problem.

"None of us are powerful alone. But together, we're unbeatable. We believe this is something we can overcome if we all come together," Daniels said.

The statistics back up Daniels' concern.

In the first part of this decade, hospitalizations for opioid abuse nearly doubled in the average Wisconsin county. But in Forest County, they increased by 415 percent. Nine people have died this year in the county from opioids.

Daniels saw it happening around him, saw his 35-year-old daughter affected by opioids, and ran for tribal leadership on an aggressive anti-opioid campaign.

"I've changed my entire life. I'm usually a businessman. I sold all of my businesses so I could do this job," he said.

Potawatomi Health Division Administrator Julie Beeney says, in her 34 years in healthcare, she's never seen drugs kill people like opioids are doing right now.

Five tribal members died from opioid abuse in January alone.

Beeney is pleased with the response of the tribe's leaders.

"They want to be the face of, 'We're the generation, we're the Executive Council, we are the community that stood up and said, 'Not one more. We're not going to continue to let our community members die,''" she said.

Along with the television ads, which will appear on Newswatch 12, and the billboards, which will line Highway 8, the tribe is giving local police hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Forest County Sheriff's Department will get $450,000 to hire two additional drug enforcement officers, doubling its drug force. The Crandon Police Department will get $225,000 to hire another police officer.

Forest County Sheriff John Dennee said the new money and donations already given by the tribe are essential.

"Without that help, we wouldn't probably be able to have the drug units and do things. We would probably be traditional law enforcement, patrolling and making arrests as they come along," Dennee said. "[With the money,] I can have guys that focus solely on opioids, drugs, awareness, education, prevention, enforcement, the whole gamut."

Dennee said opioids have risen to the top priority of the department.

"It's our number one issue. We see it in everything. We see it in every life, we see it in all of our crime, we see it in the background of a lot of things going on," he said. "We're seeing it everywhere."

Dennee said the opioid fight has helped his department and the tribe collaborate better than ever. He called their relationship "100 percent excellent."

Text Size: + Increase | Decrease -
| Print Story | Email Story
Sponsored in part by HodagSports.com





 IN OTHER NEWS

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Around 9:30 Wednesday morning police and fire crews responded to a semi versus car accident.

The crash happened on Highway 47 near Birch Lane in Rhinelander, just across the street from the Shell gas station.

The driver of the car was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries after pulling out in-front of the semi.

The truck driver was unharmed.
Oneida County Sheriff's Department says a citation is possible.

+ Read More

Play Video

TOMAHAWK - Some police officers deal with drugs on a daily basis.

A new report shows that the drug Fentanyl is on the rise now, and it's the number one cause of drug overdoses.

This drug not only puts the abuser's life on the line but the officers' lives too.

Tomahawk police officer Matt Gorell said the drug is extremely dangerous.

If officers come into contact with it by breathing it in or even touching it, they could die in a short period of time.

Gorell said when they respond to overdosing calls or drug stops they carry Naloxone, a drug used to counter opiate drugs and heroin overdoses.

"We have to take [fentanyl] very seriously. Fentanyl is so potent an amount the size a pinhead is enough to kill [an average person]," said Gorell.

He said fentanyl can often times be found mixed with heroin and the survival rate of the user is very low without a counter drug like Naloxone.

Overdose drug deaths hit a record high last year killing more than 70,000 people.

+ Read More

Play Video

WOODRUFF - We know how to handle the ice and snow here in the Northwoods, but it doesn't hurt to get a reminder on ice safety as that ice starts to firm up.

DNR Warden Supervisor David Walz says no one should go onto the ice with the assumption the ice is one hundred percent safe.

There are different types of ice and it can change day to day. Sometimes it changes hour to hour.

"We do encourage people to check with some different places like bait shops," said Walz. "Do some precautions like carrying a spud bar or obviously drill some holes on your way out."

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - Lori Edwards admitted on Tuesday she thought getting a maximum 40-year prison sentence for Ellen Tran was unlikely.

A jury convicted Tran in the Oneida Co. homicide of Lori's young son Avery.

But in an interview Tuesday after the sentencing, Edwards said she was shocked Tran was only given 15 years in prison by Judge Patrick O'Melia. Tran will serve seven years on extended supervision after the time in prison.

"To get the 15 and seven was a shock," Edwards said. "That was a lot less than what I expected or what I think she deserved."

+ Read More

Play Video

EAGLE RIVER - Newswatch 12 spoke with a man who got two scam calls from someone pretending to be an Eagle River police officer and another pretending to be a firefighter.

Both scam calls asked for donations.

Eagle River Fire Chief Michael Anderson says he thinks the caller is a local because the department is taking donations for a second station, but not over the phone.

"I believe they probably read [that we need donations] in the paper and thought that they would just take advantage of the current situation. Though, we will always take donations, we will never call and solicit donations from you. And we will never ask you for your credit card information," said Anderson.

If you do receive one of these calls you are asked to report it to your local police department.

Law enforcement reminds everyone to never wire money to someone over the phone who you don't know.

+ Read More

Play Video

RHINELANDER - He runs a warehouse instead of a "workshop", drives a truck instead of a sleigh, but the jolly and bearded Jeff Dillenberg still felt a little bit like Santa Claus on Wednesday afternoon, helping deliver some early holiday gifts to well-deserving girls and boys.

"This week was a busy one," Dillenberg said.

The Rhinelander Slumberland warehouse manager got ready to ship out dozens of twin and full-size beds. They're destined for families whose children sleep on the floor or a couch.

+ Read More

Play Video

WAUSAU - Gov.-elect Tony Evers feels lawmakers could have passed the lame duck session bills with more transparency. He's upset they were passed without much discussion and late at night.

Evers said his interactive session in Wausau on Wednesday was the opposite.

More than 125 people shared their ideas during his "Building the People's Budget" tour.

"The contrast between what's going to happen today and what happened a week or so ago in the State Capitol is going to be striking for you," Evers said.

Evers expects to propose more spending on schools when his budget comes out next year.

+ Read More
+ More General News
Search: 





Click Here