CHICAGO - The historic hub of black culture on the south side of
Chicago called Bronzeville bears the marks of disinvestment common to
many of the city's black-majority neighborhoods.
Along the expansive South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, lines of
greystones alternate in and out of disrepair, and many of the
district's blocks that were once home to vibrant institutions -
earning it the name "Black Metropolis" - are now mottled with
overgrown, vacant lots. A census tract within the area is one of the
poorest in the city.
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He smoked pot, grabbed a steak knife and meditated, cops say. Then his
mom walked in.
Terrell Banks told police the paranoia set in after he smoked weed.
Banks, a 23-year-old from Racine, Wisconsin, allegedly said the
marijuana "put him beyond his comfort zone," even though the drug has
never made him feel that way before, according to Fox6.
He grabbed a steak knife, he told police, and walked around his house
because of the unsettling feeling.
He tried to meditate, Banks said, but the voices in his head said
someone was attempting to rape him. Then his mom walked in the house,
according to a criminal complaint detailed in the Racine County Eye.
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I grew up in the 1980s, back when the "Just Say No" campaign was in
full swing. I remember being prepared to fend off relentless peer
pressure to do drugs, evil strangers offering what was not actually
candy, and so forth. Then I grew up, and almost none of the scenarios
I'd been taught in D.A.R.E. ever really came to pass.
I still avoided drugs, mostly because of a combination of a good home
life and an over-analytical brain. It wasn't as if drugs weren't
around, though. I watched too many of my friends experiment with
everything from speed to acid. No one ever pressured me to try it. It
was simply there if you wanted to dive in.
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MADISON -- Gov. Scott Walker signed seven bills Monday to combat the
spread of opiates and was set to approve four more.
The 11 measures, which enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the
Legislature, would funnel more money into fighting opiates, tighten
the ability to get some drugs from pharmacies and give doctors more
guidance on treating addiction. They were passed in a special session
the Republican governor called in January.
"We've taken serious steps to combat this issue, including creating
the Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse, but we won't stop until
there are zero opioid overdoses in Wisconsin," Walker said in a statement.
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America's opioid epidemic is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of
thousands of people. From 2000 to 2015, over half-a-million Americans
died of opioid abuse and overdose. Ninety-one Americans die every
single day for the same reasons.
While illegal drugs like heroin have contributed greatly to this
epidemic, prescription opioids are the leading cause of overdose and
death for Americans suffering from opioid addiction.
Since 1999, the amount of prescribed opioids in the United States has
nearly quadrupled without a meaningful change in the actual amount of
pain that Americans report to their doctors. In Wisconsin, the rate of
opioid-related deaths has nearly doubled between 2006 and 2015, from
5.9 deaths per 100,000 residents to 10.7 deaths per 100,000.
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Two Milwaukee men were charged Tuesday in connection with a shooting
on the city's northwest side that killed a teenager late last month.
[name redacted], 21, and [name redacted], 34, were charged with
first-degree reckless homicide, as party to a crime and use of a
dangerous weapon in a shooting that killed Ramsey Wheeler, 19, on June
A 21-year-old man who was injured during the shooting was identified
as Wheeler's brother in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
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Thanks for the June 2 editorial, "Possession penalties are too
While any discussion about reforming Wisconsin's draconian marijuana
laws is certainly welcome, decriminalization is an old idea that still
leaves out a legal source for pot.
As your editorial noted, eight states have already legalized pot for
adult use. More states are currently in the process. Our neighbors
Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota, which already have medical
marijuana, are all exploring legalizing adult use.
Wisconsin is ready, too. The July 2016 Marquette Law School Poll found
59 percent favoring legal pot for adults. Wisconsinites also have long
supported medical use by even higher margins. Yet failure to "get it
done" has cost Wisconsin at lot.
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State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, and Rep. Chris Taylor,
D-Madison, recently introduced legislation that would place an
advisory referendum on the November 2018 general election ballot
asking state voters if they support legalizing medical cannabis.
In 2012, after Washington and Colorado voters passed initiatives
legalizing cannabis for adult use, the Associated Press published an
article looking at potential legalization in other states.
Wisconsin was included: "Republican Gov. Scott Walker said ... he's
not interested in legalizing marijuana. The only way he sees it
happening is if state residents approve the idea in a referendum
similar to Colorado and Washington."
Walker has not weighed in on the advisory referendum proposal since it
was introduced, but his 2012 comments to the AP certainly suggest he
should welcome Sen. Erpenbach and Rep. Taylor's proposal to let voters
Gary Storck, Madison
MANITOWOC - A listening session hosted by State Rep. Paul Tittl,
R-Manitowoc, and Republican State Sen. Devin LeMahieu Monday was dominated
by talks of legalizing medical marijuana.
Out of the 25 attendees to Monday's listening session, nine people voiced
their support of legalizing medical marijuana in the state. Many cited
mental health issues they believed would be better treated with cannabis
oil than with pharmaceuticals. "It seems there is a numerous amount of
people interested in passing medical marijuana in the State of Wisconsin,"
Tittl said. "I think it is to the point where we should have the
conversation -- I'm not saying whether I am for it or against it -- but I
think more information does need to come out on both sides."
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Medical marijuana use should be legal in Wisconsin.
Twenty-eight states -- Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota and Ohio joined in
November -- and the District of Columbia allow for such use. California
was the first to legalize medical marijuana 11 years ago.
There are signs that Wisconsin may eventually adopt that stance. Although
Republicans in the state often have opposed such measures, The Associated
Press reported that state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, is circulating a
bill that would make possessing a marijuana extract used to prevent
seizures legal with a doctor's certification.
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Dear Editor: Gov. Scott Walker indicated in a recent interview that he
believes the only medical use from the cannabis plant is limited to just
one cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), and only for use for childhood seizure
disorders that don't respond to conventional treatments.
Medical marijuana isn't needed according to "Dr." Walker, because "studies
show medically there are much more viable alternatives within the health
The health care community might beg to differ, having produced more than
22,000 published studies or reviews in the scientific literature
referencing the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids. Marijuana has been
studied more than 85-90 percent of prescription medications.
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It is time to take a second look at reforming the opioid market, starting
with the regulatory environment.
[photo] Ike Brannon and Devorah Goldman of Capital Policy Analytics argue
that it's time to reform the opioid market, starting with the regulatory
environment. Capital Policy Analytics is a Washington, D.C., based
consulting firm that provides economic analysis to businesses regarding
how government policies affect markets and the broader economy.(Photo:
Attorneys general from nearly every state and across the political
spectrum agree that the makers of the drug Suboxone, a widely used
treatment that reduces cravings for opiate addicts, violated state and
federal antitrust laws.
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The deadly toll of heroin, deemed a public health crisis by many officials
in Wisconsin, isn't slowing down.
Heroin-related deaths in Milwaukee County skyrocketed by 72% last year
compared with 2013, according to data released Wednesday by the Milwaukee
County medical examiner's office.
In 2014, 119 people died from heroin-related overdoses, and for the second
year in a row in Milwaukee County, heroin-related deaths outpaced motor
vehicle deaths, of which 74 occurred.
Heroin-related deaths also account for nearly half the 249 drug-related
deaths investigated by the medical examiner's office. Several drug-related
deaths from 2014 remain under investigation, but heroin has been ruled out
as a contributing factor.
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Federal and local authorities announced on Wednesday that Milwaukee has
been chosen to take part in a new $2 million comprehensive strategy led by
the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to prevent opioid misuse, heroin
abuse and violent crime.
The "360 Degree Strategy" will strengthen partnerships among health care
professionals, social service organizations and government service
agencies to provide long-term help and support to create drug-free
communities, said Dennis A. Wichern, special agent in charge at the DEA's
Chicago Field Division.
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In Milwaukee County, a record 299 people died from drug overdoses in 2016,
outstripping the 255 total deaths in 2015, which was itself a record. That
preliminary total does not include an estimated 45 suspected drug-related
deaths that are awaiting toxicology results.
[photo] Alyssa Anderson, 24, died in March 2015 of a heroin overdose. She
was one of 281 people who died from heroin statewide in 2015 and the death
toll continued to climb in 2016.(Photo: Family photo)
Annette Renk remembers her daughter playing the violin and bass guitar,
exploring nature and caring for her pets -- a cat, a snake and a
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Walker rightly noted that addressing the issue will stem a public health
problem and help the state's economy.
Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday called for a special legislative session to
fight heroin addiction and ordered state agencies to ramp up their
response to a drug that kills hundreds in Wisconsin each year.(Photo:
Gov. Scott Walker has it right: Heroin addiction is a public health crisis
in Wisconsin, and state officials must ramp up efforts to respond more
urgently and effectively to a killer that takes hundreds of lives each
year. His leadership will be key in making that happen.
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Narcotic painkillers - which can cause birth defects - commonly were
prescribed for women of reproductive age, according to new data presented
Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The research, which looked at the years 2008-2012, found that 39% of women
ages 15 to 44 on Medicaid and 28% of those on private insurance received
an opioid prescription.
"Many women of reproductive age are taking these medicines and may not
know they are pregnant and therefore may be unknowingly exposing their
unborn child," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement.
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Madison - Gov. Scott Walker signed seven bills Monday aimed at fighting
the state's growing heroin problem during stops around the state.
The new laws include ones that will allow drug users to call 911 about
overdoses without fear of prosecution, expand treatment alternatives and
create quicker punishments for offenders who violate the terms of their
Walker signed the bills at events in Marinette, Stevens Point, Eau Claire
and Milwaukee. The Marinette County Courthouse was chosen as one venue
because it is in the district ofstate Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), who
has taken a lead in drafting the measures. Nygren's daughter Cassie has
struggled with heroin addiction.
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Madison - The state would expand the fight against heroin abuse and
approve labor contracts with the few remaining state employee unions,
under legislation unanimously passed by lawmakers Tuesday.
Without dissent, the Assembly approved the measures on drug abuse and sent
them to the Senate, which is expected to take them up in the coming weeks.
Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen support the
If the heroin bills become law, users of the deadly drug would be immune
from liability if they called 911 to report overdoses, and more first
responders could carry drugs to counteract overdoses. People also would
have to show identification when they pick up many prescriptions, and
communities would be able to set up drug-disposal programs more easily.
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A drug that can stop a heroin overdose, and potentially save a life, is
available in Wisconsin. One agency provides the doses at no cost.
But it's against the law for an individual with a prescription for
naloxone, commonly known by its brand name Narcan, to use the drug on a
friend or someone else overdosing on other opiates such as morphine,
oxycodone and methadone.
A recent report from the State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse has
recommended a 911 Good Samaritan Law to state lawmakers that, among other
provisions, would offer limited immunity in such cases.
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