Has culture change led to rising drug use?

Green Lake County Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kiener speaks last week Friday about the people he encounters who support drug habits through programs such as Social Security disability.

A rising number of individuals living in Green Lake County are using drugs, from heroin to meth, law enforcement officials say.

And partly to blame? A contemporary culture of “no work ethic,” they say.

At a roundtable discussion on public health and drug use last week Friday, led by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, several police officers noted a distinct change they’ve witnessed among the 30-somethings they encounter in drug cases.

“I work in a very small town; I know everyone,” Princeton Police Chief Matt Bargenquast said. “And what I see more and more — more recently within the last year — is that some of these people that are using drugs and abusing drugs, they don’t have jobs and they’re not actually getting money and some of these people aren’t even stealing. What they’re doing is they’re latching on to people that are on disability.”

Green Lake County Patrol Sgt. Jeff Kiener agreed, stating that in numerous cases drug users have told him they supply their habits by collecting money through welfare programs.

The attitude of these people addicted to drugs is, he said, “Why would I work when I can get a free check from the government?”

“How do they get that free check?” state Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, asked Kiener. “I mean, we have W-2 [forms] — what program are they on? Is this the ‘Drug Program Stay-at-Home’ check?”

Read the full story, and other stories about the attorney general's visit to Green Lake County, in the Nov. 7, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.

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