INT’L FALLS: Recap of Town Hall Held in Efforts to Curb Drug Trends

INT’L FALLS, Minn. — More than 200 people came out to a town hall held in the city of International Falls regarding drug use in the borderland.

New drug trends are surging across the country and Northeastern, MN is no exception.

In efforts to prevent drug abuse, addiction, and death — local leaders, including a coalition known as Koochiching Area Prevention in Education (KAPE), held a public forum on Wednesday.

At the meeting, speakers laid out what they see taking place and offering ways to address the problem.

“It’s about getting the information out to your community and telling them this is a little snip it of what we’re seeing. Let’s educate people and let’s get ahead of it before we actually have a death,” said KAPE Grant Director BethAnne Slatinski, accompanied by KAPE Grant Coordinator Jenesa Balaski.

Out of the more than 200 community members, a wide range of ages were in attendance, according to KAPE members.

KAPE works to reduce alcohol and drug abuse in the county, starting with kids.

Last night’s forum was a partnership between KAPE, State Rep. Dave Baker, Judge Jerrod Shermoen, health officials, and juvenile officers among others.

“Everybody that was on the panel last night agreed that our goal is to get kids and young adults to be making better healthier decisions around all types of stuff,” said Slatinski.

At the town hall, there were many substance abuse resources available.

This included mental health support and counseling, fentanyl test strips, and brochures to inform parents about signs that their kids may be suffering and what steps to take next.

KAPE members said, the team plans to debrief at their next meeting and hold another town hall in the future.

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