The Heroin and Illicit Drug Task Force met Thursday at the Health and Human Services Building in La Crosse to generate drug prevention ideas for the coming year.
"Prescription drug arrests are only second to marijuana in this community. That's a lot. It's much higher than heroin and meth. I think that speaks volumes for where the biggest impact can be made in the community and by the task force," said Emergency Physician and Tri-State Ambulance Medical Director Chris Eberlein.
Officials from Mayo Clinic Health System and Gundersen Health System commented that doctors are becoming more cautious about their prescribing habits following events at the Tomah VA Medical Center. Prescription drugs can also be a gateway drug to methamphetamine or heroin.
The meeting focused on creating channels between law enforcement and medical staff, increasing locations for needle disposal, and proactive tactics to reduce overall drug use.
"It's an issue that one group can't solve. You're going to need the collaboration of all these different groups to make any headway in improving the problem," said Eberlein.
The task force will continue to meet with law enforcement and will meet again next month.