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Community invited to drug forum in Cloquet on Monday

A community forum on opioid and heroin abuse in Carlton County will take place Monday at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet.

“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.”

A free meal will be provided at 5 p.m., and will include sharing of personal success stories. At 6 p.m. Richard Colsen will give a presentation on the “History of heroin and opioids: How did we get here?” From 6:45-7 p.m., Laura Palombi and Amy LaRue will talk about the history and give an overview of the Carlton County Drug Abuse Task Force, followed by a 15-minute question-and-answer session. From 7:20-8 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).

This forum 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 last 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 during the forum from 6-8 p.m.; 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.