Posted Thursday August 9, 2012 --- 6:00 p.m.
By Barclay Pollak
Earlier this year I spoke with a heroin addict who claimed he shot up just hours before our interview. He talked about the drug's danger and how easy it is to get addicted.
The problems associated with the drug have grabbed headlines. 29-year-old Michael Benike and his partner 25-year-old Tara Thousand were busted after a series of bank robberies in south central Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois. Heroin was their motivation.
But, in the last few months heroin's stranglehold on our area has loosened.
Officials say there are multiple reasons for the decrease. Public awareness has grown and that's partially because of efforts like the joint drug task force created back in October of 2011. Also, the distribution of the drug Narcan, which brings users back after an overdose, has also helped.
" Sky rocketing rates of use and overdoses has leveled off for about the last 10 months. "
Lt. Brian Ackeret works with the Dane County Narcotics and Gang Task Force. He's on the front line of the city's war on drugs.
According to Ackeret heroin may be leveling off. But another drug, high quality marijuana, is ready to take its place.
High quality Marijuana has a THC content of about 40%. THC is the active ingredient in Marijuana. It's what gives users the high. The increased THC content also means an increase in the drug's value.
" You can purchase marijuana whole sale, have it shipped from California at the prices somewhere between $2,000 and $3,000 a pound on the whole sale value, says Lt. Ackeret. " You can turn around and sell that on the pound level or on the ounce level and make upwards of $4,000 to $5,000 or more per pound. "
High quality marijuana is nothing new. It's been around since at least the 90's. But the violence that goes along with it is new.
Lt. Ackeret says, " A vast majority of the home invasions that happen through out the city and the county are now marijuana related. "
On occasion drug dealers miss their mark.
" We know there are some circumstances where they're targeting the wrong house. "
Those times are rare but they do happen and pose a threat to the general public