Woman’s brush with fentanyl could have been deadly

Packet on sidewalk that Port resident stepped on to keep it away from dog turned out to be dangerous opioid
Ozaukee Press staff


Ozaukee Press staff

A Port Washington woman got a scare while walking her dog near Port Washington High School on New Year’s Day.

In a Facebook posting, Linda Stahovic said her puppy almost ate a cellophane packet that was on the sidewalk near the school, so she stepped on it and they continued on their way.

But, she said, the packet had a white powder inside, and she kept thinking it might have been filled with drugs, so she called the police department.

She met an officer and pointed out the packet, which he confiscated. A few hours later, she said, he called to tell her it tested positive for fentanyl.

“The officer said, ‘If your pup would have eaten it, he would’ve died immediately,’” Stahovic wrote. “We both could have died.”

Captain Craig Czarnecki said officers don’t know if the fentanyl was mixed with another drug because the field test used detects only fentanyl, not other narcotics.

And because of the presence of fentanyl, tests for other drugs probably weren’t run, he said.

“That’s dangerous to work with,” Czarnecki said. “We never used to get calls for that stuff. Now, it’s common.”

There’s no telling how the packet of drugs came to be on the sidewalk, Czarnecki said, or whether there’s any connection to the high school.

Drugs like this are used by people of all ages, Czarnecki said.

“It’s not just kids,” he said. “We’ve had 50 and 60-year-olds all the way down to kids.”

He noted that the department conducts drug searches at the high school a couple times a year and hasn’t found anything like this.

While cases like this are not common, Czarnecki said, police are seeing significantly more drugs like fentanyl in the community.

“Drugs are definitely more common, and harder drugs are more common,” Czarnecki said. “The trend I see is it’s getting to be more and more of an issue. Back in the day, it used to be marijuana. We never saw a lot of PCBs or cocaine.

“Now we’re finding more opiates than marijuana because it’s just more available.”

Fentanyl is a lethal drug, a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and even small doses can be deadly, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Czarnecki said officers are using more and more Narcan, a medicine that reverses opioid overdoses.

“A lot more than I ever thought we would,” he said. “We’re going to rescue calls and using four doses. We’re using multiple doses quite often. We  just give them the stuff until they come to.”

Fentanyl, he added, “is still pretty dangerous. It depends on how pure it is. It can knock you out pretty darn quickly.”

It’s telling that one of the first felony cases in Ozaukee County filed in 2023 includes one count of possession with the intent to deliver fentanyl and one count each of possession of methamphetamine and cocaine.

In addition, Rebecca Frank of Manitowoc was also charged with two counts of felony bail jumping and one of possession of drag paraphernalia.

Each count notes that Frank is a repeat offender.

The charges came after a sheriff’s deputy pulled over a car with a defective brake light in Saukville on Dec. 30. While the deputy was writing a warning for the issue, a K9 officer alerted officers to the scent of drugs.

According to the complaint, a search of the vehicle revealed bags of beauty and make-up products, among which was a case with three rock-like chunks officers suspected were methamphetamine.

When Frank was arrested, she told officers she had items hidden in her bra and subsequently removed a glass smoking pipe, a bag with shards of suspected methamphetamine, a rolled up dollar bill with residue, a bag with suspected fentanyl powder and a razor blade, the complaint states

According to the complaint, Frank had 13.4 grams of fentanyl powder — far beyond the amount one would possess for personal use — 2.5 grams of methamphetamine crystals, .1 grams of methamphetamine rock and .4 grams of cocaine.

District Attorney Adam Gerol said drugs are a blight on the county for many reasons.

“The price of heroin right now is almost exactly the same as it was when I was in the drug unit in Milwaukee in 2008,” he said. “What does that tell you? Inflation doesn’t affect the price of heroin and fentanyl. It tells you we’re swimming in it.”



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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