Eau Claire government officials discuss plan to prevent meth use

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)-- Local government officials held a press conference, Monday, to recognize and respond to the growing issue of methamphetamine crimes in Eau Claire County.

District Attorney Gary King says since March, the committee, made up of local law enforcement, public defenders, and treatment court supervisors, has met to discuss prevention, enforcement, and treatment options for those suffering from the use and distribution of meth.

“Our goal here is not only to recognize National Methamphetamine Awareness Day here in Eau Claire County, but also to continue to educate and talk to our community about the dangers of this drug and what our citizens can do going forward,” says King.

Sheriff Ron Cramer says one of the main distribution points of meth comes out of the Twin Cities.

“We've gone through cycles of crack cocaine, large amounts of marijuana and now this methamphetamine has been the longest sustained drug and the most addictive drug we've seen,” says Cramer.

The committee agrees, locking more and more people up isn't the answer, which is why they are turning to treatment courts. But program supervisors say they are filling up fast.

“I think it's safe to say, we can't treat everybody, and now, we do have waiting lists into the treatment courts and we know that from an evidence based standpoint, the sooner we can get folks into treatment, the more effective that treatment is going to be,” says treatment court supervisor, Melissa Ives.

Deputy Chief Matt Rokus says the problem isn't unique to Eau Claire.

“It's a regional issue. We're seeing trends throughout northwestern Wisconsin. Crime lab submissions for methamphetamine in northwest Wisconsin have doubled tripled, quadrupled, in some counties and it has a lot to do with geography. I do think our partnership and the strategy for dealing with it is unique to Eau Claire,” says Rokus.

Committee members will continue to meet on a monthly basis. During their next meeting in December, they will be setting specific goals for what they want to accomplish in 2016.

As a part of National Meth Awareness Day, the Eau Claire County Methamphetamine Response Committee met to address the growing use and distribution of meth into the community.

The committee that was formed back in March is a collaborative effort made up of 13 local government officials. The goal of the committee is to educate the general public on all issues related to methamphetamine.

A news conference was held Monday morning to discuss strategies to prevent, enforce, reduce harm, and treat the use and underlying problem of meth in the community.

The local law enforcement agencies and government administrators involved, discussed specific plans, programs, and services for individuals who want and need to be treated for meth addictions.

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