Article Date: February 27, 2011 FELONY DRUG CHARGES Dane County Assistant District Attorney Ken Farmer calls it the "make them drink" philosophy. But others wish it didn't take a felony drug possession charge - an increasingly popular tactic among prosecutors - to get overdose survivors into treatment. In 2010, 23 people who suffered drug overdoses severe enough to be revived by paramedics or in emergency rooms were charged in Dane County with felony drug possession in connection with the overdose incidents, court records show. That's up from nine in 2005 and just one in 2007. Prosecutors say the intention is to get overdose survivors into court-mandated drug treatment programs, not to get felony convictions. But only 17 of the 51 people charged between 2005 and 2010 ended up in Dane County Drug Treatment Court, the records show, and 18 resulted in felony convictions. Many of the cases filed in 2010 are still working their way through the courts.
Article Date: February 24, 2010 It's an all too familiar story -- young people hooked on substances that destroy their lives and tear apart families. But there is hope. In a focus on health special report, Fox 47 talked with three people who are pulling themselves from the brink. In telling us their stories, they say recovery is long, painful, but worth every sober minute. Every day, in our neighborhood, people are abusing drugs. And they start when they're young. A 2008 report from the Department Of Health Services says 37% of Wisconsin teenagers tried marijuana and 23% took prescription pain relievers for non-medical purposes Connor, 16, started drinking at age 12 -- soon he was smoking pot and abusing prescription drugs. "I loved it," he said." It just helped me get away from all my problems. I didn't have to worry about getting yelled at at home, school, kids making fun of me, whatever it was." Connor's mother, Marlene, says she and her husband didn't know what to think.
Article Date: February 11, 2010 MADISON (WKOW) -- Pharmacists and drug counselors are warning people about the dangers of drug overdose, after a 13-year-old Edgerton boy died after taking Oxycontin. Oxycontin is known to cause side effects including dizziness, headaches, and nausea. "It's a painkiller used by a number of people. When oxycontin is taken like other narcotics, it can affect your breathing, and actually stop your breathing," said Russ Jensen, director of pharmacy at St. Mary's Hospital. Statewide, 229 people died of narcotic overdoses in 2008. Drug counselors say prescription drug abuse is a growing problem.
Article Date: December 14, 2009 MADISON (WKOW) -- Recent surveys show marijuana is becoming more popular among U.S. teenagers, and some people believe the national debate over legalizing medical marijuana may be to blame. It's known by many names -- marijuana, cannabis, pot -- and it appears teenagers are smoking more of it. A study, released Monday by the University of Michigan, says marijuana use among 8th, 10th, 12th graders is up. "Part of it is young people really minimize marijuana being an issue," said Shelly Dutch, director of Connections Counseling. "Part of it is looking at legalization in many states." Researchers say it's the trend that's alarming. Marijuana use among teens had dropped every year of the past decade, only to bounce back up in 2008. It doesn't matter if students are athletes or scholars, wealthy or poor. Counselors say everyone is a potential user and abuser.