Letter: First Heroin Summit Yields Positive, Frank Communication
To the Editor-
Communities across the country have struggled with a “terrorist” on the streets which victimizes anybody who will let it in: youth, citizens of any ethnicity, poor and rich alike. You may ask who is this terrorist and the answer is heroin.
Cities and villages within central Wisconsin are not immune to this “killer” which can strike at a moment’s notice killing victims or prolonging a lifetime of torture endured by those who want to stop using heroin but cannot.
On March 4, 2014, leaders within the counties of Wood and Portage gathered together for the first ever Heroin Summit to discuss the impacts of heroin in the communities of Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield, Stevens Point and Plover and the respective Counties. Representatives of law enforcement, district attorney’s office, judges, mayors/administrators, and emergency room physicians were in attendance. All provided insight from their particular perspective on how heroin is impacting their day to day activities.
The first half of the summit was a presentation by Chief Susan Riseling from the University of Wisconsin Madison that presented intervention strategies deployed in Dane County. Along those lines Chief Riseling also presented research which was conducted by a local HMO attempting to determine the reason for such a rise in heroin use. Intervention strategies stressed a need for partnerships with many stakeholders including physicians, pharmacists and educators to name a few. Heroin use was also determined to be linked to a past history of prescription narcotics prescribed to treat pain.
The second half of the day Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen spoke of heroin prevention initiatives such as the “Fly Effect” currently being done by the Department of Justice. Topics of discussion included legislative law changes, resource allocation, and educational initiatives.
The summit culminated into a round table discussion with each community sharing the deadly impacts of heroin within their communities. The consensus was the summit was extremely beneficial and future talks involving more stakeholders are necessary to combat this killer as a collective team.
For now, we ask all our citizens to whom we serve to be cognizant of the dangers of heroin and under that experimenting once may be your last. For parents in particular please talk to your children and make them aware of the clear potential fatal effects of heroin. Our commitment is to your safety and we will fight as hard as we can to educate, and keep all of you safe. If you or a family member struggles with addictions related to heroin and/or prescription medication please call 1-866-590-2651 or go to www.ncwana.org
Scott Saeger, Deputy Sheriff
John Kruse, Municipal Judge
John E. Charewicz, Sheriff
Louis J. Molepske Jr D. A.
Danielle Luther, Health Educator
Gary Jepsen, Police Chief
Kurt Heuer, Police Chief
Patty Dreier, County Executive
Dwayne Wierzba, Police Chief
Lee Ann Spoon, Records Supv.
Robert Tillotson, MD
Timothy Vayder, MD
Todd Wolf, Judge
Zach Vruwink, Mayor
Allen Teter, MD
Tom Eagon, Judge
Andrew J. Halverson, Mayor
Kevin K. Ruder, Chief