Event celebrates steps taken toward a healthier community

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- An event Thursday celebrated steps taken toward building a healthier community while opening up a conversation to identify what still needs to be done.

Eau Claire Healthy Communities hosted its annual celebration at with two goals in mind: to celebrate progress towards healthier lives for Eau Claire County residents and to build capacity to address substance abuse.

The event was held at Chippewa Valley Technical College, providing participants an opportunity to network with and learn about Eau Claire Healthy Communities' action teams, learn how substance abuse is affecting our communities and identify ways the community as a whole can take action.

Recently Eau Claire Healthy Communities partnered with the alliance for substance abuse prevention, recognizing one of the biggest hurdles facing Eau Claire County is the opioid epidemic.

"It's taking such a toll on individuals’ health and families and the whole community,” says Dr. Mark Gideonsen, Co-chair of Eau Claire Healthy Communities Council. “So it's something that a lot of different organizations are working at in difference ways and so we're highlighting that tonight in our keynote speaker on ways to address substance abuse issues in the community."

Eau Claire Healthy Communities hosts a variety of monthly meetings, their next one, high-risk drinking prevention, is set for May 1.