Officials discuss local efforts to prevent drug abuse, addiction

By: 
Rachel McKinley, Contributing Writer

Photo by Rachel McKinley

A group of residents and local leaders listen last Thursday as law enforcement officials, health and public service employees, and community members gave presentations during a special event on the effect of drugs in Antrim County, held at Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility.  

 

BELLAIRE – Several law enforcement officials, health and public service employees, and community members gave presentations last Thursday on the effect of drugs in Antrim County. The event, held at Meadowbrook Medical Care Facility in Bellaire, was aimed at educating community members and promoting advocacy for change in current drug policies locally and throughout the nation.

Antrim County Commissioner Melissa Zelanak kicked off the meeting with a brief overview of the opioid epidemic on a national and local level, referencing statistics from a previous presentation.

She was followed by a speech from Central Lake resident Ken Kruse, who lost his son to an opioid overdose nine years ago. Kruse made several important points including a responsibility for community members to speak up to those they know who are struggling with addiction, and increasing efforts to educate youth on the harmful effects of drugs. He also advocated for a change in recovery programs, including harsher jail sentencing for addicts.

“While we can’t force anyone into a recovery program, at least in jail we can force them to become clean and start to make decisions with a better mind. … Obviously, I’d much rather have visited my son in jail, than attend his funeral,” Kruse said.

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