Public invited to hear culmination of ‘heroin summits’ organized by SPPD Chief Ruder
By Brandi Makuski
Law enforcement officials say they have a new tool for combating heroin- and now they want to share it with the public.
For the past year, officials from Portage and Wood counties have been compiling data on the rising use of heroin in Central Wisconsin. The group, comprised of law enforcement, county health officers and city leaders, have held a series of “heroin summits” since last March, meeting with judges and prosecutors, state legislators, school officials, medical and pharmaceutical representatives and health insurance providers.
The idea, according to Stevens Point Police Chief Kevin Ruder, was to create an overall picture of how those who use the drug first become addicted, how easy it is to obtain, and what can be done to stop its spread.
“We learned very early in the process that this was not a problem we can arrest our way out of,” Ruder said. “It requires education and commitment from the community and its leaders.”
Ruder, along with other law enforcement officials and professionals from relevant fields, will host a public forum to discuss what they’ve learned on the local heroin problem, and to answer questions from area residents.
“Maybe a ‘scared straight’ tactic is the right way to go,” Ruder said. “Maybe a ‘before and after’ approach, showing somebody who weighs 70 pounds with health problems, is what it’s going to take to make an impact on the younger people in our community, to show them how deadly this drug is.”
The forum will be held Thursday, April 9 at 7 PM in the Ben Franklin Junior High auditorium. The public is encouraged to attend.