Council Offers New Strategies to Address Heroin Epidemic

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Today, the Marathon County Alcohol & Other Drug Partnership Council has released a few new strategies to address the increase in heroin abuse in our area.

Heroin abuse is on the rise in our state, and Thursday morning the council hosted a press conference highlighting the Pushback Against Drug Abuse initiative and heroin's continued impact on Marathon County.

Melissa Dotter, the drug free communities program coordinator, said the number of heroin overdoses in Marathon County has increased from 2012 to 2013 by 217 percent.

"It's definitely something that's impacted our community," said Dotter, "It's such a strong addiction, that we really have been seeing it just hit all different levels."

A new state report was released to address the heroin epidemic, listing strategies and recommendations to assist communities in their fight against the drug.

"The recommendations include increasing access to treatment for all individuals," said, Dotter, "Whether you're incarcerated, whether you're pregnant, and especially for our adolescent population, which there's a great need."

Dotter said the use of narcan to reverse a heroin overdose has also made a huge impact on the fight against the epidemic.

"The increase use of narcan in the community has saved a lot of lives, and without it we would be having a lot more young people buried," said Dotter.

The conversation on heroin abuse will continue at the partnership's September opiate summit, held at the Aspirus Medical Center on September 26.

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