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Speakers named for heroin forum on Thursday, July 18

It's no secret that urban, suburban and rural communities across the nation are being indelibly scarred from a resurgence of heroin abuse.

To fight back, families and friends of individuals who lost their lives by heroin overdose will speak out on the growing use of the drug and the tragic consequences at a public forum at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 18, at First Presbyterian Church, 1901 Vine St., Hudson. The forum is sponsored by the Hudson Community Foundation.

According to the Hudson Police Department, there have been close to a dozen deaths from heroin and other drug overdoses in the Hudson area and in St. Croix County in the last two years.

Among them are several Hudson High School alumni in their 20s, including three in the last few months, along with several older adults. Hudson police say the use of the heroin is growing in the community and that drug dealers are providing some of the highest quality heroin in the country at very low prices. Law enforcement predicts there will be more deaths as the number of people who become addicted to heroin increases.

In an effort to illuminate the growing problem of heroin in the community and potentially save lives, several individuals in recovery from their addictions as well as families who have lived with addicts and those who have lost loved ones will share their personal stories as part of the evening.

Speakers include: Karen Hale, whose daughter Alysa Ivy died from a heroin overdose; Steven Skoog and Phil Drewiske, who are both in recovery for heroin addiction and lost their friend Tyler Hole to the disease; the parents of Skoog and Drewiske, who also will discuss the impact that addiction has had on their family.

Peter Van Dusartz, chemical dependency counselor and manager of Hudson Hospital & Clinic's Programs for Change, will discuss how quickly heroin addiction occurs and treatment options. Nick Motu, vice president of marketing & communications, Center for Public Advocacy, Hazelden Foundation, will share perspective on the heroin resurgence.

Hudson Police Department Sgt. Geoff Willems and a representative of the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department will discuss their response to the problem and the challenges in stopping the drug supply in the community.

The forum will also include time for questions and the opportunity to talk with presenters.

Founded in 1999, the Hudson Community Foundation is a nonprofit 501c3 philanthropic organization focused on providing funding in the areas of education, human services, civic projects, youth and the environment through its community needs fund. An affiliate of the St. Croix Valley Foundation, HCF also assists individual, family and corporate donors through the establishment of field-of-interest, donor-advised and future funds that benefit the greater Hudson community.

For more information on the forum contact HCF board member Meg Heaton at (715) 426-1067. For more information about HCF, visit

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

(715) 808-8604