Area businesses are stepping up to help law enforcement and other agencies tackle a growing illegal drug problem in La Crosse. The effort comes in light of the latest rise in heroin use.
Police raided a downtown La Crosse apartment Monday and arrested five people. Police found 2.5 grams of heroin, four handguns, and more than $2,000 in cash. The five suspects are in La Crosse County Jail.
READ MORE: Five arrested in heroin bust in La Crosse
La Crosse Police said cooperation from downtown businesses helped make these arrests possible.
Police said citizens noticed suspicious activity in the area and contacted police. For the security of that investigation, police are not releasing what businesses were involved.
The La Crosse Fire Department is also joining the fight against illegal drugs. Their department is in charge of picking up any used needles found on La Crosse curbs, streets, or alleyways and disposing of them.
They took over that job in February, 2014. That year, they had 112 calls to pick up used needles. That's roughly nine calls a month.
In 2015, that number doubled to 225 calls. That's almost 19 calls a month. On each call, they could pick up multiple needles.
"We encourage folks if they see an unsafe situation, if they see a needle or a syringe on their curb, in the yard, anywhere in their neighborhood or anywhere in town as far as that goes, to call 9-1-1. The 9-1-1 dispatch center tones us out, and they'll notify our units of a needle pick up," said La Crosse Fire Dept. Division Chief Mark Amann.
The department uses, what they call, body substance isolation to safely dispose of the needles. They wear gloves and collect the needles in a sharps container. Later, they bring them to local hospitals to dispose of them.
Chief Amann said it takes community cooperation to get these needles off the streets to prevent children from coming across one.
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