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Our View: Dispose of unused prescription meds

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The stories family members shared last week at the community heroin forum sponsored by the New Richmond Police Department, the New Richmond School District and the New Richmond Area Community Foundation, were heartbreaking.

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Their stories of addiction, pain, prison, recovery, relapse and death hit close to home, mostly because these things actually happened close to home.

The Hudson community, which is only 15 miles down County Road A, has dealt with more than a dozen overdose deaths in the last few years.

The victims haven’t been nameless drifters. They have been our friends and neighbors. The families affected are just like ours here in New Richmond.

These drugs induce chemicals in the brain to react as if the addict’s life is in danger if it doesn’t receive another dose. In the addict’s mind, the consequences of criminal activity pale in comparison to that perceived existential threat.

These people need our help, not our judgement. Help them, offer support and get them into treatment and out of the drug lifestyle.

Prevention is the best course of action. Keeping loved ones from taking the first pill can save the entire community from a lot of pain.

Unlike other street drugs like meth, cocaine and crack, the path to heroin addiction often starts with a prescription to an opioid medication like Oxycontin or Vicodin.

Once hooked on those painkillers, addicts often turn to heroin because it is more intense, cheaper and more readily available.

Do the community a favor. Check your medicine cabinet for narcotic drugs, and get rid of them as soon as you can.

St. Croix County offers a medication collection program to help residents dispose of unwanted medication with drop-off sites at local police stations throughout the county.

Find out more at bit.ly/1fERjVI.

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