ACUITY insurance co. contributes $100K to heroin problem

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY (WITI) -- ACUITY has announced it is contributing $100,000 in support of efforts in the Sheboygan County area to tackle the growing heroin problem.

ACUITY's donation will be administered by a task force under the direction of Sheboygan Police Department Captain Jim Veeser.

The task force includes the police department, the Sheboygan County Health and Human Services Department, Aurora Sheboygan, St. Nicholas Hospital, Healthy Sheboygan County 2020, the district attorney’s office, and the Sheboygan Area School District.

The donation, made through the ACUITY Charitable Foundation, was prompted by the front-page Sheboygan Press articles of Sunday, June 16.

Entitled "Deadly Doses" and "Heroin Makes Its Mark on Sheboygan," the articles detailed the statewide problem of heroin trafficking and the growth of heroin addiction in the county, which has seen a 200 percent increase in heroin-related deaths since 2009.

"Have you ever had a grim realization that was also a compelling motivator? That's what happened last Sunday morning after reading the Sheboygan Press article on heroin trafficking," said ACUITY President and CEO Ben Salzmann. "We realized that ACUITY needed to come to the aid of Sheboygan County in addressing this dreaded addiction and leading cause of crime in our community."

Education is essential in the fight against this deadly drug. According to Captain Veeser, the task force will focus on educating the community on heroin use and abuse, including teaming up with schools to inform youth about the effects of heroin addiction.

ACUITY's contribution was made with this educational goal in mind.

"Unfortunately, your children or grandchildren will likely be approached at some time by a drug dealer," Salzmann said. "Hopefully the way our  children reject that proposition is centered around their knowledge, education, and value set. Now is the time to help them gain awareness of the devastating effects of heroin."

ACUITY also envisions that its $100,000 contribution to the task force will spur additional funding.

"We encourage other community businesses and organizations to join us in this fight," Salzmann said. "We hope that others contact Captain Veeser at the Sheboygan Police Department to pledge their support to this vital community effort."

ACUITY, headquartered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is a property and casualty insurer that operates in 20 states, generates over $1 billion in revenue through 1,000 independent agencies, and manages nearly $3 billion in assets. Named the Best Medium-Sized Place to Work For in America by the Great Place to Work Institute, ACUITY employs over 900 people.