Heroin epidemic hits new high in Rock County

Heroin epidemic hits new high in Rock County

Officials with the Janesville Police Department said the city has seen more people dying from heroin overdoses this year than in years past.

Officer Chad Woodman said Tuesday there have been 31 overdoses this year and nine people have died.

“Unfortunately, based on the way things go, I’ll see a few more before the end of the year,” he said.

Officials said there are too many variables to determine a cause for the rise in overdoses. The factors range from more people calling in and reporting the overdoses to there being bad batches of heroin, Woodman said.

“Many times we see people who are addicted to heroin using the drug in secluded areas, a lot of times alone,” he said. “If somebody goes into an overdose, and there’s nobody there to help them, unfortunately sometimes those overdoses result in deaths.”

Woodman is the DROP officer for the police department. DROP stands for death, recovery or prison — the options addicts have.

“It’s either you get clean, or you’re going to prison eventually, or unfortunately, you may die,” Woodman said.

As the DROP officer, Woodman works with addicts to help them get treatment.

“A lot of these people are good people,” he said. “They’re our brothers, our sisters, our moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and they’re good people. The problem is this drug makes them do things they typically wouldn’t do.”

Woodman also works with organizations in the county, including Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change and Hope Over Heroin.

There is a Hope Over Heroin event scheduled for Oct. 5 from 6-7:30 p.m. There will be resource booths for prevention, treatment and recovery support; guest speakers; and a candlelight vigil to remember the people who have lost their lives to addiction. The event is at the Rock County Fairgrounds.