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Heroin Summit II opens discussion with police and schools


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- Law enforcement, school officials, and community leaders are continuing to look for ways to fight the large heroin problem. In Wood and Portage Counties, they held Heroin Summit II this week. Stevens Point Police Chief Kevin Ruder says the focus was on preventing kids from experimenting with drugs.  “We ended up talking about how we can look at education in the school and awareness and prevention within the school aged kids.”

The group discussed possible ways to help young students with a public forum this fall, and possibly with peer programs in schools.  “Trying to find the at-risk youth in the schools and have some kind of peer support or peer intervention as far as letting us know or letting a teacher know if they feel like any of the kids that they may be hanging around with or know about who are dabbling in prescription medications or other drugs.”

School officials told the group they also have few resources to help kids that are on drugs or at risk for trying them.  “Teachers that were there and present and the administrators say we know that there’s a specific niche of children out there who are depressed or what we can see as at-risk, but what can we do to help them is forever a challenge.”

Ruder says there will be another meeting soon. He says Heroin Summit III will involve a different group of people that see the effects of heroin and other drugs.  “The groups that we’re going to get involved in that are going to be most likely the pharmacists, the doctors, some of the people that handle the prescription medication and the distribution of prescription medications.”

Ruder says many people still believe the heroin problem isn’t real, but he says it most certainly is and it’s everywhere. Most people hooked on the drug started with prescription pain killers, and moved to heroin after getting addicted when the prescriptions ran out.