FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) – Drug abuse continues to plague the Fond du Lac community, like many others around the state and across the nation. Paramedics with the fire department are on pace this year to double the number of doses of NARCAN they administered last year for drug overdoses.
Drug abuse knows no boundaries. At least that’s what the Fond du Lac Fire Department has observed as it’s administered 54 doses of NARCAN in suspected drug overdose cases so far this year, compared to 35 doses in similar situations in all of 2015.
“These are people of all ages, all groups, socioeconomic groups, ethnicity. It’s not just focused on one tailored individual type,” says Assistant Chief Todd Janquart.
And that’s why the police department, health care providers and the health department in Fond du Lac County have teamed up to form a Drug Free Communities Task Force. The group has worked for the past year to build a comprehensive four pillars plan to combat the drug abuse crisis in the community.
According to Drug Free Communities Coordinator Ellen Sorensen says, “That includes law enforcement who has been diligently working on this for several years as well as prevention which DFC has done for years, but we’ve added harm reduction and treatment, working to build capacity for those two pillars so that we have a complete environmental approach to addressing the crisis.”
It’s a problem the group knows won’t be solved overnight, with really no end game. Sorensen says, “There are all sorts of things that we need to be doing and we’ve come pretty far in a very short amount of time, but there are miles to go.”
And by taking small steps to address specific issues tailored to the Fond du Lac County problem, Drug-Free Communities is confident it will make a difference.
Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney adds, “We can’t keep doing the same things that we’ve been doing year in and year out, and we have to try new things. And if it means it doesn’t work, we have to be willing to step away and try other new things.”