Congressman Steil hosts roundtable to tackle spread of fentanyl overdoses in Rock Co.


JANESVILLE, Wis. – Law enforcement officials in Rock County are taking steps to combat the spread of the deadly drug fentanyl but are asking for the community’s help in spreading awareness.

On Thursday morning Congressman Bryan Steil hosted a roundtable called Fighting Fentanyl to discuss the challenges the drug has produced in Rock County and ways to put an end to the overdoses.

“We need to get the word out to people of how dangerous this drug is,” Steil said. “It’s far often too late for the moms and dads that I’ve talked to who have lost a son or a daughter.”

Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson said they’ve already taken some steps to keep the drug out of Rock County like funding drug investigations and issuing significant penalties for misuse but more needs to be done.

He said because it’s cheaper to make, Fentanyl has found its way into all sorts of illicit drugs often catching users unaware.

Recovering addict Jeremy Duncan spoke at the roundtable, sharing his first hand experience with participants. He said several people he knew died because of the drug.

“When it comes to fentanyl the fun doesn’t last very long,” Duncan said. “Once you get caught up in the cycle you don’t see anything else.”  

Knudson said the drug has also been a problem at Rock County Jail because it’s easier to sneak in very small amounts that are still dangerous.

He said the jail has had to respond to about one overdose every three weeks and recently the drug was at the center of three overdoses happening all at once.

“The situation looked very dire, very dismal, and I didn’t have a huge amount of hope that we were going to be able to bring all of them back,” Knudson recalled. “I wasn’t sure we were going to bring any of them back.”

Luckily officers were able to rescue all three people but it was a close call that no one at the roundtable wants to see repeated so they’re hoping by informing people on the risks their loved ones won’t become a statistic.

Officials at the event said there have been 47 deaths caused by fentanyl just last year in Rock County alone.

According to Knudson the issue doesn’t end with those battling addiction but the drug is also fueling additional crimes like burglary, theft, and robbery.

The jail is currently looking at adding new equipment that would allow them to better screen for the drug to stop its entry.