Drug crimes growing amongst concern in Wisconsin

The number of deaths related to drug overdoses in Milwaukee has been on the increase, causing concern across the state. Total drug deaths have grown by 66.1 percent between 2011 and 2016, with narcotic deaths rising by 79.9 percent. Fentanyl, by itself or in combination with other drugs, was discovered in 400 percent more cases in 2016 than in 2011, a shocking increase.

In 2016, 299 people died in Milwaukee County from drug overdoses. In 2015, there had been only 255. There are an additional 45 cases still awaiting toxicology reports in 2016 that could drive the number even higher. Most of these cases involved heroin, while fentanyl also played a heavy role.

One of the reasons that there have been more overdoses may be due to the variations of the drugs. There are new drugs available and new combinations; fentanyl, for instance, has long been used by doctors for surgeries and other anesthetic purposes, but it is 40 to 50 times more powerful than heroin and easily overdosed on.

Fentanyl itself is a Schedule 1 drug thanks to the 128 deaths attributed to it in New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio and other states. Much of this drug has been coming from Chinese labs, according to the forensic technical director of the local toxicology lab.

So what should you do if you've been accused of selling this drug, having it illegally in your possession or otherwise being involved in the drug trade? Know that the state is looking deep into the growing number of deaths with concern, which can draw more scrutiny toward your case. Your attorney can help you defend yourself by showing why you needed a certain drug in your possession or defend you by showing other reasons you aren't liable for the crime you've been accused of.

Source: Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "Soaring drug deaths bring search for answers," Ashley Luthern, Jan. 07, 2017

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