LA CROSSE, Wis. - A training session today addressed what numbers show are the two most prevalent drugs in our area: meth and marijuana.
The La Crosse County Prevention Network held a "Getting to Know Meth and Marijuana" presentation from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday to teach business leaders and professionals more about the two drugs' presence in our area.
"It can happen to any of us, any family, and we're all at risk for substance abuse," said Judi Zabel, health educator and member of the La Crosse County Prevention Network.
Meth and marijuana may seem like they're on separate ends of the drug spectrum, but organizers and speakers at the Getting to Know Meth and Marijuana training session say they have a few important similarities
"They are different, but the bottom line is they're the top two drugs," said Tom Johnson, investigative coordinator for the West Central MEG Unit. The two drugs account for "the highest amount of drug arrests in the region."
"I don't think there's a different approach because it's an addiction, that's the key thing," Zabel said.
About 80 professionals attended the presentation at Viterbo, including Brook Kubicek, a social worker with the county.
"For me it's important because a lot of the people I'm working with, a lot of the parents, even sometimes kids are experiencing these substances. They're very highly addicted to these things," Kubicek said.
Johnson spoke about both drugs and the signs and symptoms of their use.
"A lot of people were surprised by the seriousness of chemicals put into bodies when using meth," he said. "They were surprised by the toxicity or high percentage of THC in marijuana-related products we talked about today."
"It was cool to see the warning signs that, when we're going into houses, what types of things to be looking for, different products in house, holes in bottle caps. Stuff like that, I wouldn't think about when going into a home," Kubicek said.
Event organizers and speakers hope lessons learned at the event will make their way out into the community.
"These people are going to take back to their colleagues, families, hopefully to young people in families and share information, and it will spread naturally," Johnson said.
Johnson said a comprehensive solution is necessary to address the drug problem, which means law enforcement, educators, treatment communities and citizens have to work together.
The presentation also included information on how drugs can affect the workplace, differences between commercial and medical marijuana and the support systems available in the community for those impacted by drugs.
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