A Wisconsin state lawmaker’s daughter is under arrest for possible involvement in an overdose death.
Cassandra Nygren, the 28-year-old daughter of Republican state Rep. John Nygren, was booked into the Brown County jail early Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree reckless homicide/deliver drugs and manufacture/delivery of heroin, among other potential charges. She has not yet been formally charged.
Brown County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Todd Delain told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that Cassandra Nygren and a 33-year-old man were arrested in a recent drug death. Delain would not say who overdosed.
Cassandra Nygren’s arrest is the latest chapter in her long battle with drugs. She spent two years in prison after a near-fatal overdose. She was released in 2014, becoming an advocate for sobriety, but was convicted again in 2015 of drug possession and admitted to drug court, an alternative program aimed at helping participants fight addiction.
Her struggles spurred her father to offer multiple bills aimed at curbing opioid addiction over the years. Walker has signed nearly 30 bills sponsored by Rep. Nygren since 2013 dealing with opioids, but they’ve had little effect so far.
According to state data, 1,524 people died of opioid-related overdoses between 2013 and 2015, compared with 1,381 people over the previous three-year period. The data show 622 people died in 2014 and 614 in 2015, the two highest annual death totals since 2003. Last year, 837 people died of opioid overdoses. An additional 204 people died from overdosing on other drugs.
John Nygren said in a statement that his daughter’s arrest is another example of “the disastrous and destructive consequences” of addiction.
“Cassie has publicly struggled with addiction and recovery for several years. This is a strong reminder of how fragile the road to recovery is. We will continue to support and pray for her recovery,” the lawmaker said in a statement.
Rep. Nygren also extended condolences for the loss of life. “There are no words that we as a family can offer to give any real comfort for this tragic loss,” he said.