About 669,000 Americans reported using heroin in a 2012 government report.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one million emergency room visits were made each year between 2008 and 2011, for drug poisoning.
Captain Shawn Kudron with Investigative Services Bureau at the La Crosse Police Department said it hits a lot closer to home than many might think.
"What we're seeing is that the use has increased. Drug use has an ebb and flow to it. Methamphetamine certainly was being used in greater amounts and that was reflective to our arrests and the people we come in contact with. So we see this kind of ebb and flow happen and now, just in the last year, year and a half, we're starting to see that increased use again with heroin," said Kudron.
At the press conference, officials referred to narcotic issues in our city, state, and country as an epidemic and one that's sadly not new to our society. They added, it's important to draw attention to the ongoing community efforts to address drug use in the area.
Doctor Chris Eberlein, Emergency Physician at Gundersen Health System and Medical Director for Tri-State Ambulance said there's been an increase in emergency rooms visits in La Crosse due to heroin use.
"We had fifty thousand deaths from narcotic overdose in America. Last year, we spent a fraction of that on our treatment programs and research. Until we change or shift and start researching this and start treating it like the chronic disease process it is, we're going to be doing the press conference frequently," said Eberlein.
The La Crosse Police Department hopes to decrease drug use in the area by first targeting dealers and secondly, facilitating open communication with the public.
MORE INFORMATION: The La Crosse Police Department