La Crosse, WI (WXOW) Heroin use is on the rise in Western Wisconsin. Local law enforcement says two people in Monroe County died from a heroin overdose in just the last week.
Community leaders gathered in La Crosse to discuss heroin use and what we as a community can do to prevent more people from becoming addicts. News 19's Amy DuPont tells us more about the discussion and what happens next.
The 65 people in this room all have the same goal; to reduce the use of heroin among people in the Coulee Region. Many have been working to do so for some time, but it wasn't until today that local law enforcement, elected officials, health care worker, and other came together to share what they've been doing and what they would like to do.
"It's just a matter of trying to figure out who should be at the table. Who has the resources to be able to have some sort of an effect." Jane Klekamp manages La Crosse county's chemical health and justice sanctions program. She says the group agrees the best way to tackle heroin use is for the community to collaborate. "The question will be how do we pull those segments together to form a productive work group that could actually have an impact on the community. So, that to me is the next step. How do we pull that group together and start meeting."
Doug Mormann agrees. The director of the La Crosse County health department is hopeful Wednesday's discussion will inspire each of these individual groups to keep talking. "Nobody takes the first step specifically. Really 65 different organizations, groups, individuals, through their respective mechanisms that will enable us to move forward." Mormann is hopeful however these groups decide to move forward they will find a way to do it together.
The La Crosse county criminal justice management council will look over all of the ideas the group came up with. Some of those ideas include a youth mentoring program, more community education about heroin, and starting a heroin task force. Over the next three to six months the council will most likely help create another panel to begin implementing some of the ideas generated.