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Tonight's drug forum takes aim at opioids

WOODBURY — The trafficking of deadly opioid painkillers - and what can be done to prevent their onslaught - is the primary focus of a public forum May 1 at East Ridge High School in Woodbury.

“A Night to Know the Truth” will give attendees a sobering look at the drug problem from a variety of perspectives, including those of police, prosecutors and the addicts themselves.

Washington County Sheriff Dan Starry and County Attorney Pete Orput will provide an overview of law enforcement’s anti-drug efforts.

The audience will also hear from drug counselors and police deputies who provide student security and surveillance as school resource officers.

The event is organized by the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge (MNTC), a provider of substance abuse treatment and recovery services. Their outreach program, Know the Truth, sends recovering addicts to tell their stories at schools and other venues.

Sadie Holland, a prevention specialist and community coordinator for MNTC, said parents may be surprised at the pervasiveness and proximity of illegal drugs. Affluent communities aren’t immune, she said.

For parents, half the battle in fighting drugs can be knowing what to look for.

“It’s about giving them tools and updating them on the current drug trends and what the kids are calling these things, where they’re hiding them,” Holland said. “If the parents don’t have children who are using, that’s great. But let’s keep it that way.”

A computer exhibit titled “Cracking the Code” will take visitors on a virtual tour of a teenager’s bedroom. A touch screen test will challenge them to locate clues that the occupant might be drinking or using drugs.

One of the speakers at A Night to Know the Truth is an addict who successfully completed treatment. He will be joined by his mother. Both will talk about what they would have done differently.

A resource fair in the lobby will feature table displays manned by representatives of drug, alcohol and mental health treatment centers.

For those who suspect a loved one or co-worker is falling prey to addiction, speakers at the forum will provide constructive advice on how to approach them.

There were 23 opioid overdoses last year, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

If you go: Night to Know the Truth runs 6-8 p.m. at East Ridge High School, 4200 Pioneer Drive in Woodbury. The event is free to the public and offers CEU Credits for the Board of Behavioral Health, Nursing, Social Work and Education. For more information, visit https://www.knowthetruthmn.org/events
William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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