State Senator Van Wanggaard's eNewsletter 2017
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Tackling the Meth Epidemic

Over the past few years Wisconsin has been battling the opioid epidemic that has gripped our state. Unfortunately, this is not the only dangerous drug that has infiltrated Wisconsin. Methamphetamine abuse has increased at an alarming rate, and addiction and overdoses have spiked. Sadly, methamphetamine abuse now rivals opioid abuse in our state, yet it is a problem that many don't know about.

To help better understand this crisis, I held an Informational Hearing last week in the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee which I chair. The hearing was held jointly with the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety so the legislature could begin to wrap our arms around this issue. During the hearing we heard from invited experts including The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Marshfield Clinic, and the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation. 

During the hearing, Attorney General Brad Schimel and FBI's Justin Tolomeo shared a report that showed meth use has increased between 250 percent and 300 percent in the last four years. During that time, the state crime lab saw a 349 percent increase in meth cases compared to a 97 percent increase in heroin cases. Some communities have seen much higher increases, with meth use in Prairie du Chien increasing by a staggering 700 percent.

This is a challenge that is quickly escalating to a crisis, and our state needs to start combating this drug. I look forward to working with my colleagues to help fight this epidemic and get this dangerous drug out of our schools and off our streets. To watch the Informational Hearing, click here.

Roundtable Addresses Mental Health and PTSD for Law Enforcement

Due to the unique challenges of their job, law enforcement officers experience higher risks of depression, suicide and even marriage failure. These issues, along with other mental health issues and PTSD are often products of the sustained levels of heightened stress officers undergo as well as traumatic experiences such as losing a limb or investigating horrific crimes.

Being in Law Enforcement for almost thirty years, I understand what it is like to leave for work not knowing if you would see your family that evening. My heart goes out to the officers who put themselves in harm's way to keep our communities safe. To help address the prevalence of mental health issues and PTSD among officers, I recently convened a roundtable with stakeholders around the state. The WI Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association, Badger State Sheriffs Association, Wisconsin Chiefs of Police, Wisconsin Professional Police Association, Wisconsin County Police Association, Milwaukee Police Association, County Law Enforcement Professionals and the Department of Justice all took part in the meeting.

This was a good opportunity to start the ball rolling on how we can help the men and women who give so much in their positions. This is just the beginning of this conversation, and I am looking forward to implementing tools that can make a real difference for our officers, and our communities.

In the Capitol

On Wednesday, February 15, I got a visit  from Columbia County high school students. The students came up to discuss how they can enact positive change in their area. What a great group of kids!

On Wednesday, February 8, I was able to sit down with the Wisconsin Police Chiefs as part of their Legislative Day at the Capitol. I appreciated the chance to discuss the issues police chiefs are facing locally and throughout the state. Thanks for making the trip!
Connect with Van:


State Senator Van
21st Senate District 

Wisconsin State Capitol 
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, Wisconsin 53707
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Local Events

Vegas Night
Festival Hall
5 Fifth St., Racine
February 18, 7 - 10 pm

Racine Heritage Celebration
Racine Architect Hotel
and Conference Center
7111 Washington Ave, Mount Pleasant
February 18, 5:30 - 9 pm

Downtown Kenosha Restaurant Week
Downtown Kenosha
February 18 - 26

Watercolor Wisconsin
RAM's Wustum Museum
441 Main St., Racine
Through April 22

Racine Zoo
2131 North Main St.
Daily, 9 am - 4:30 pm

If you would like to add an event to the Local Events calendar, please send information to: Colleen.Moran@legis.wi.gov
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