On Feb. 27, the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians issued a public notice.
"We've received information from local providers that there have been several overdoses within the surrounding communities in just the last 24 hours," the notice reads. "There is a very toxic and strong dose of heroin in the area. It's a white powder substance possibly called 'China White.'"
Residents are urged to not touch any suspicious substances, to call 911 or report it to a local law enforcement agency.
"Please know that there are places that you can get Naloxone kits for your home and loved ones who may be using (heroin)," the notice states.
Naloxone (or Narcan) is used if there is an overdose on an opioid, like heroin, "and may reduce the risk of death."
The next day, the Lac du Flambeau Tribe of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians also issued its own notice regarding the overdoses, stating it had received word of several of them in the area.
Stacy Stone, the LdF tribal state of emergency coordinator, said despite that particular situation originating in the Bad River area, the LdF tribe is "being proactive" by issuing its notice to make people aware.
She was at the Vilas County Board meeting last Tuesday when the board took action to participate with Oneida and Iron counties along with tribal leadership in creating a tri-county/tribal controlled substance response committee.
That committee will be tasked with developing an action plan.
Stone said she saw creating the committee as a good thing.
"We're trying to look at things a little differently here," she said. "We're just trying to move forward."
The LdF notice mentions the "China White" as well as other white, powdery substances known as "Batman" or Fentanyl and if people in the area come into contact with them to notify tribal police at 715-588-7717.
Brian Jopek may be reached via email at email@example.com.