A neighborhood walk ended with a call to the police after an Onalaska family stumbled upon drug paraphernalia in its neighborhood.
Police said this is an issue that has been popping up in many different communities over the past several months, but one local dad said he never expected it to turn up in his front yard.
"It was one of those nice mornings,” said Chris Peterson, a father of two young children in Onalaska. "We went out for a walk with the whole family."
As the Petersons finished their walk, they found something unusual in their yard.
"Actually my wife saw it first,” said Peterson. "She bent down to pick it up and was kind of like ugh, trash."
However, with Peterson’s background as a health teacher, he knew it was something more than just a piece of trash.
"I kind of shouted stop... I think that's drugs," said Peterson. "It looked like a piece of tin foil with some distinguishing burn marks on it."
Peterson called the police department and within minutes, an officer confirmed it was a cooker most likely used for heroin.
"It was pretty shocking. Especially being right in the front yard, right in the boulevard, that's pretty close to home,” said Peterson.
"Sometimes we are finding needles in streets, ditches, just in the community, on the ground, nowhere specifically; there is no rhyme or reason as to where we find them,” said Leah Myers, a D.A.R.E police officer with the Onalaska Police Department.
Myers said this isn't the first phone call like this that they've received.
"We are definitely seeing an increase in the amount of calls we are receiving for people finding drug paraphernalia in our community,” said Myers.
One of the major concerns is the safety of the kids.
"What I would suggest is talk to your kids,” said Myers.
"To say especially if you find a needle, stop, back away, get an adult and we will take care of it,” said Peterson.
It's not an easy conversation, but it's an important one to keep them safe.
"I don't want to create panic or paranoia, but I think it's important to be hyper-aware that drugs know no boundary and we need to be aware of that,” said Peterson.
If you do find drug paraphernalia in your neighborhood, you are urged to call the police. They will safely remove it for you.