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Chemical Abuse Focus of Inaugural Community Forum

September 21, 2017 11:12 PM

(ABC 6 News) - A forum in Dodge County Thursday night focused not only on the dangers of illegal drugs but legal drugs, too.

Dependency can be scary at any stage in life and it can start as early as high school.

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Parents and students gathered in the Kasson-Mantorville auditorium Thursday night, to learn about substance abuse and addiction.

"It can ruin people's lives," high school freshman Chloe Bradford said.  

Bradford is a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions. She said the forum offered struggling teens a little extra help and knowledge.

"There could be somebody in their family that has an addiction, and they could want to get them help," Bradford said. 

The speakers covered a variety of topics: from harder drugs like heroin and cocaine, to getting hooked on caffeine and energy drinks.

“Talk to your kids so they know what your expectations are,” Dodge County Sheriff Scott Rose said.

However, the forum was about more than just telling kids about addiction. They were able to learn about it from people who have experienced it firsthand.

"One thing I want to tell people and kids is, surround yourself with good people," recovering alcoholic Jay Jermier said. 

Jermier struggled with alcohol abuse, which resulted in two severe motorcycle accidents; one where he lost his left leg, and another where he took a life. He spent just under three years in prison.

Now one week away from five years of sobriety, he wants high schoolers to know the dangers of drug use are very real.

"If you don't think it can happen to you, you're very well mistaken, it can happen to anyone, if you drink and drive and break the law, bad things can happen," Jermier said.   

"Addiction is a disease," Stage by Staige drug and alcohol counselor Jessica Bradford said. "Addiction doesn't just affect the person who's suffering, it affects families, communities, the criminal justice system, our jails, so it's really important that we can educate the community, so we can be supportive of each other."

For those struggling with chemical use, contact for Stage by Staige - a mental health and chemical dependency treatment center - is listed on their Facebook page.


Credits

Elise Romas

Copyright 2017 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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