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Community invited to drug forum in Cloquet on Monday

All community members are encouraged to attend the Carlton County Community Forum on Opioid and Heroin Abuse on Monday, Oct. 3,at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College, 2101 14th St., in Cloquet. A free meal will be provided at 5 p.m. (that will include sharing of personal success stories). At 6 p.m. Richard Colsen will present on the “History of heroin and opioids: How did we get here?” From 6:45 to 7 p.m., Laura Palombi and Amy LaRue will present on the history and overview of the Carlton County Drug Abuse Task Force, followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session. From 7:20 to 8 p.m., attendees can choose a breakout session to attend from the following: adolescent development and substance abuse, signs and symptoms of opioid abuse, taking care of the caretaker, and understanding naloxone (aka Narcan).

“We are seeing the negative impacts of drug abuse on communities, including the many drug-related deaths,” said Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake. “Those deaths are preventable. This forum is an opportunity to come together and learn about the effects that drug abuse is having and ways to prevent these tragedies. This is a problem that needs everyone from the criminal justice system, medical system, treatment providers, community leaders, parents, community members all to join together to make a difference.”

Carlton County has a very high rate of drug abuse; heroin and prescription pill abuse have touched many people’s lives in the community. This year’s information will build on what was learned during last year’s forum at the Cloquet Forestry Center. The task force held a similar drug abuse forum in Moose Lake earlier this month.

“As a follow-up to the forum held in Cloquet last fall, this community forum is a way for the Carlton County community to continue to come together and to move forward in finding a solution to the opioid and heroin abuse epidemic in our area,” Lake said. “Carlton County as a whole is continuing to make progress to positively address the issue in our community, and we know that working together is the best and most effective way for us to combat this problem. It is not just one organization’s or one person’s responsibility — we need every single community member to be a part of the solution.”

Free childcare is provided 6-8 p.m. during the forum; an RSVP to Amy LaRue at 218-878-2858 is suggested for families who plan to use the childcare.

The forum is made possible by an Engaged Department grant awarded to the Pharmacy Practice and Pharmaceutical Sciences department at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy, Duluth campus, by the University of Minnesota Office of Public Engagement.