County health officials educate on meth and marijuana
La Crosse's Own WXOW News 19
Posted: Oct 21, 2016 5:06 PM CDT; Updated: Oct 21, 2016 5:06 PM CDT
Most people who struggle with substance abuse, didn't start with drugs like meth. Often times marijuana or alcohol can be gateway drugs. Here in La Crosse County, one third of the youth uses marijuana, or have in their lifetime. That's the finding of a 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
The La Crosse County Prevention Network says marijuana use can lead to other drug use. Friday the group hosted a training session, "Getting to kNOw meth & marijuana." They're working with parents, professionals and business leaders to help them better identify addiction and substance abuse in the community. Topics included tools to identify signs of drug use, impacts on the workplace and the repercussions on children and families. "We're seeing a lot of marijuana and meth use in our community. Marijuana has changed. It's not the THC level that it was in the 60s and 70s, where it was at 3 or 4 percent level. We've seen that THC levels have risen to as high as 40 percent," Judi Zabel with the La Crosse County Prevention Network said. Zabel said the potency of some of the drugs being discovered in the community is increasing and the community needs to be aware. "I want the dialogue to expand. I want use to be talking about prevention. Let's not just look at the explosion of what's occurring with marijuana and meth and heroin, let's look at what we can do to prevent that explosion from ever occurring," she said. Prevention requires a comprehensive approach, Zabel said the whole community needs to be engaged.
Professionals get to know meth, marijuana
La Crosse County Prevention Network sponsors
“Getting to kNOw Meth and Marijuana” training session
Author: Madalyn O'Neill, firstname.lastname@example.org
Published On: Oct 21 2016 05:42:37 PM CDT Updated On: Oct 21 2016 07:06:17 PM CDT
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.
Bangor Board tackles ordinance changes
Coulee News July 14, 2016; Tobias Mann email@example.com
Tobias Mann photo
Former La Crosse Police Chief Edward Kondracki, left, gives a speech at Tuesday night’s Bangor Village Board meeting about a social hosting ordinance that would hold property owners accountable for providing space for the underage consumption of alcohol.
Former La Crosse Police Chief Edward Kondracki and his colleague Sue Lynch made an appearance at Tuesday night’s Bangor Village Board meeting to discuss the purpose of a social hosting ordinance the two have been encouraging La Crosse County communities to adopt. The ordinance would hold persons accountable for providing a space for the under-aged consumption of alcohol. Kondracki said the goal of the ordinance is to give the police departments more tools for investigating and preventing underage drinking. He said especially around prom time, some parents may not provide the alcohol to the minors, but will look the other way if they want to have it at their party.
Kondracki and Lynch are working on behalf of the Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Coalition. La Crosse, Onalaska, Holmen and West Salem are among the communities that have adopted the ordinance.
At last month’s meeting, Bangor Police Chief Scott Alo expressed concerns that the village’s ordinance already forbids parents from providing alcohol to minors who are not their children or legal guardians. After discussing the purpose of the ordinance with Kondracki, Alo recommended the village adopt the ordinance. “It will give us a little bit more of a tool if a house is used,” he said.
Violators could face fines of $1,000 to $5,000 under the ordinance. “There are legal consequences to hosting a party where alcohol is served,” Kondracki said. “The social hosting ordinance holds those who are responsible for providing the location for the underage consumption of alcohol.”
He reassured the board the purpose of the ordinance is not to discourage legal consumption of alcohol. “We are not an anti-alcohol coalition,” he said. “This is a proactive effort.”
Kondracki admitted there is not really a way of measuring the effectiveness of the ordinance, but in his mind, if one life is saved, it is worth it.
Board member John McCue expressed concerns that the ordinance may take away an officer’s discretion in a situation. “I, personally, think discretion should be up to the chief for the grey areas,” McCue said. “For example, first time may be a warning, depending on the situation.” Alo explained that the officers always have discretion unless the violation would require to make a request. “I can’t force an officer to write a ticket,” he said, adding that officers always have discretion. After the hearing testimony from Kondracki, and on the recommendation of Alo, the board unanimously voted to adopt the ordinance.
Judi Zabel: Learm more about marijuana risks
Judi Zabel La Crosse (La Crosse Tribune Letter to the Editor)
Apr 21, 2016
Did you know the term "420" originated in the 1970s, when high school-age stoners in Northern California congregated at 4:20 p.m. daily? "420" has evolved into an unofficial marijuana holiday.
Rather than celebrating such a "holiday," the La Crosse County Prevention Network wants parents and caretakers to speak openly about the harm of marijuana use with their kids and change the social norm among all ages.
Health educator Judi Zabel wrote this on behalf of The La Crosse County Prevention Network.
Parents who provide alcohol to minors could be fined up to $5,000
"Parents Who Host Lose The Most" campaign aims to educate parents about risks
Author: Kyle Dimke, firstname.lastname@example.org
Published On: Apr 01 2016 06:32:29 PM CDT
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -More than 20 percent of high school seniors in La Crosse County reported binge drinking within the past month, according to the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
A local organization is trying to educate parents about the role they play in preventing underage drinking.
"Parents Who Host Lose The Most" is a public awareness campaign and an ordinance in La Crosse County. April begins Alcohol Awareness Month and this program reminds adults about the consequences of serving alcohol to minors. As the snow melts, the weather gets nicer and the school year winds down, there are more reasons to get together.
"This is, of course, prom and graduation season," Ed Kondracki, chair of the Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Coalition, said. Former La Crosse Police Chief Kondracki said because of these celebrations it is also a time when teens become more tempted to drink alcohol. That's why the Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Coalition put out yard signs Friday to educate parents about the risks of hosting a party where minors are drinking. "Some parents think that, 'Well kids are going to drink anyway, so why don't we provide a safe environment where they can drink?' Well that happens to be wrong and it's also against the law," Kondracki said.
In La Crosse, Onalaska and West Salem, you could be fined up to $5,000 if caught serving or allowing minors to drink alcohol on your property.
"We need to send that message that what you're doing can cause a terrible tragedy and we're trying to prevent that. We don't want, certainly, to see anybody to get hurt," West Salem Police Chief Charles Ashbeck said. If parents are hosting a party where alcohol is being served, Ashbeck recommends keeping the alcohol in a separate cooler that's being supervised by an adult at all times.
Kondracki said underage drinking is a serious problem in La Crosse and Wisconsin, and adults are not doing teens any favors by allowing them to drink underage. "It affects their brains, it affects them physically, mentally and emotionally, and it's just something that we as adults ought to do our part to see to it that our young people are safe," Kondracki said.
The study also found 15 percent of high school students had their first sip of alcohol before 13 years old, and 33 percent reported the alcohol they drank was provided to them.
The coalition recommends parents host alcohol-free activities during prom and graduation parties. It also said parents should be home when their teenager is having a party.
Copyright 2016 by WKBT News8000. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The party's at our house
by Johns, Flaherty & Collins, SC on Thursday, March 24th 2016
We’re planning a special graduation party for our son and some of his best buddies. We’re hosting it at home and want them to enjoy themselves. As long as we’re supervising, is there any problem with serving a little beer?
You may have seen these yard signs that pop up as proms and graduations near: “Parents Who Host, Lose the Most: Don't be a party to teenage drinking.” It’s part of a campaign by the Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Coalition. While it is legal to give your own child a beer at home—or even in a bar if the bartender does not object—it is not legal to provide alcohol to any other underage person.
“It is illegal,” said attorney Joe Veenstra. “There are county and local ordinances against what is called ‘social hosting'." A parent or another adult could be fined hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for repeat offenses for hosting a party where underage people drink alcohol. To be a “host” is to “aid, conduct, entertain, organize, supervise, control or permit” such a gathering in which alcohol is consumed by the under-aged. “The adult is accountable regardless of whether the adult supplies the alcohol personally,” Veenstra said. “By being there, you are assumed to know about it.” You could be cited as a result of a police call about excessive noise from an unhappy neighbor, an angry parent of a guest or a photo posted on Facebook that shows drinking at your house by young party-goers.
Beyond the law there are other issues—medical emergencies related to drinking and accidents that sadly occur as a result of such parties, especially around prom and graduation.
Veenstra, who is completing a term on the La Crosse County Board said, “I voted in favor of the county ordinance. There is a sense that local governments need to discourage risky drinking behavior by young folks. When they binge drink, young people make poor decisions and get in trouble as a result. The need to discourage risky behavior is particularly true since the alcoholic beverage industry targets young people with alco-pops and hard liquors flavored to taste like bubble gum and cake.”
Information provided by Joe Veenstra, La Crosse Lawyer at Johns, Flaherty & Collins. If you have a legal dilemma, call him at 608-784-5678.
See more at: http://www.johnsflaherty.com/blog/the-graduation-partys-at-our-house#sthash.uQYHUnW2.dpuf
Risky drinking coalition to spread word against parents hosting alcohol-infused parties
Tribune staff, Mar 23, 2016
The Changing the Culture of Risky Drinking Behavior Coalition will sponsor a Parents Who Host, Lose The Most kickoff event starting at 3:45 p.m. April 1 at the Ho-Chunk Nation Ni Tani Hocira (Three Rivers House) at 724 Main St. in La Crosse. After refreshments, youths and other residents who attend will fan out to saturate La Crosse County with yard signs proclaiming the message against parents who enable underage drinking.
Coalition chairman Ed Kondracki, former La Crosse police chief, will lead the event, part of a statewide initiative titled Parents Who Host, Lose the Most: Don’t Be a Party to Underage Drinking.
The effort is intended to remind parents and other adults about the legal ramifications, and health and safety risks of serving alcohol to teens, especially with the approach of prom and graduation seasons.
Parents can be cited up to $5,000 for knowingly allowing a group of underage people to consume alcohol on premises they rent or own, Kondracki said. Underage alcohol use is also associated with traffic crashes and fatalities, other drug use, violence and gang involvement, rape, depression and suicide, Kondracki said. In addition, regular alcohol consumption — especially binge or high-risk drinking — impairs learning during critical academic years, because the brain continues to develop into the mid-20s.
This initiative encourages parents and other adults to support alcohol-free events. The 2015 La Crosse County Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicates the prevalence of the problem:
Illicit drug forum in La Crosse
La Crosse, WI (WXOW) -Posted: Mar 01, 2016 5:46 PM CST Updated: Mar 01, 2016 7:20 PM CST
An alarming rise in illegal drug use led to a couple of forums designed to address the issue.
The first was designed for lawmakers, law enforcement and educators working to stop the flow of illegal drugs while providing ideas for treatment. The second, a community open forum called, "A Night for Hope."
Both drew an audience beyond expectation said Al Bliss, a health educator with the La Crosse County Health Department. He says comments from those events will help the Health Department and Heroin and Other Illicit Drug Task Force focus on the most important aspects of drug use.
Given the success, Bliss says they plan to make these forums annual events.
THC laced gummy candies surface in La Crosse
ANNE JUNGEN email@example.com
Jan 15, 2016
Candy infused with THC is popping up in La Crosse, likely trafficked into the area from states that have decriminalized or legalized marijuana.
La Crosse police first discovered eight gummy bears laced with THC on Sept. 7 when an officer stopped Keith Roseff of Madison for speeding on Lang Drive.
An investigator on Jan. 3 found two more sugarcoated gummies in the shape of bow ties on Central High School student Antoine Bell, who said he paid $30 for each, according to court records.
“In Colorado, they’ve found ways to put THC resin in just about everything you can possibly imagine,” said Michael Dolan, an internal medicine doctor at Gundersen Health System. “It’s not surprising they’ve made their way to the Midwest.”
Online videos offer instructions how to make the gummies at home, although police suspect those found locally were manufactured professionally. Police face new challenges when drugs take new forms. “We have to be observant and not overlook anything,” La Crosse police investigator Cory Brandl said.
Anyone caught with the gummies faces a charge of possession of THC or a more serious charge of possession with intent to distribute if arrested with a large quantity, La Crosse County Deputy District Attorney Brian Barton said.
The gummies pose a serious risk of accidental ingestion and toxicity to children if swallowed, Dolan said. “They’re colorful and they taste good. It’s a horrible, horrible combination,” he said. “You’re taking a tiny body and giving a dose of THC that’s designed for an adult.” Adults also are susceptible to toxicity because the gummies could contain a higher concentration of THC than expected, Dolan said. “Chronic use could result in an altered level of processing speed, planning and abstract thinking difficulties, and your ability to focus diminishes,” he said.