Help for those addicted to drugs could be coming to Ozaukee County

OZAUKEE COUNTY -- New help for those addicted to drugs could be coming to Ozaukee County. The County Board just approved $150,000 to fund a sober living facility.

The streets of Grafton are peaceful and quaint. You'd never know if your neighbor were struggling with a heroin addiction.

"The reality is, it's not junkies in the back alley doing opioids, doing heroin, it's the boy next door, the girl next door," said Kari Jacobi with the Ozaukee County Heroin Task Force.

The county saw a large spike in heroin use since 2012. The number of drug felonies in the county reached a record high in 2014.

"From the northern end of the county, Belgium, all the way down to Mequon," said Jacobi.

As a result, they created a Heroin Task Force, and there has been some improvement.

"It's not happening in Ozaukee, the selling so much, they`re staying right outside the county line," said Jocobi.

But to help in the recovery process, the Task Force wants to build the county's first sober living facility. A home to go to upon release from jail or treatment, to get back on your feet. It would house six to eight people, along with a house manager. Starting Point, the Grafton-based alcohol and drug resource center, would run it.

"It is offering a safe, structured environment for people who need it and, for the most part, have nowhere else to go," said Shea Halula with Starting Point.

Potential sites for a sober living facility could be in Grafton, Port Washington or Saukville. Those are all communities with good employment opportunities for residents.

"They're going to be working, they're going to be going to AA meetings, they're going to be going to treatment," said Halula.

Health officials hope to get rid of the stigma, and give people a chance.

"We need to help them," said Jacobi.

This sober living facility would only cater to men. It would serve those addicted to all drugs, not only heroin. Besides county funding, Starting Point and the Task Force applied for a state grant -- and are looking for private partners.