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Hundreds Come Together to Fight Methamphetamine at Summit in Trego, Wisconsin

April 4, 2017

Penny Roberts knows first-hand what methamphetamine can do to a family. Roberts’ son is an Eagle Scout, but now he is battling meth addiction.

“My heart breaks every night,” said Roberts.

That’s why she and Lottie Bernecker started the Rice Lake, Wis. chapter of Nar-Anon, so that family and friends of meth addicts can learn from each other.

“I want to get out there that parents shouldn’t be ashamed, and that all parents do not give up on their kids,” said Roberts.

Bernecker’s daughter was in a similar fight, but now she’s a recovering addict. And Bernecker wants others to have hope too.

“I feel like when they’re going through it, they feel like their loved one is never going to recover, and it isn’t true,” said Bernecker.

It’s a fight that many in the Northland know all too well, and that fight was the topic at a big area conference. Nearly 300 people came together in Trego, Wis. on Monday to find a better way to combat this debilitating drug. Representatives from law enforcement, human services and health care and elected government officials were there to learn from each other while collecting feedback at the same time.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel says a common myth is that only bad people fall victim to methamphetamine, it can affect anyone.

“Meth is a full-blown public health crisis,” said Schimel.

Schimel has been facing a similar fight for years with another popular drug.

“We’ve seen it with the opioid epidemic, and we’re seeing it with the meth epidemic too,” said Schimel.

Schimel says it’s important to realize that methamphetamine addiction can happen to anyone.

“If we’re gonna win this, we have got to win on the prevention side. One of the important ways to address prevention is by helping people recognize that this could happen to them, that this is not just a problem that the bad kids face, that this is affecting all kinds of families in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

Schimel says he has watched how the highly addicted drug destroy the lives of the sons and daughters of addicts leading them down a path of destruction as well.

“If we don’t address this, it’s generational. When kids grow up in a household where there’s meth being used, we know with a virtual certainty, we’re going to be dealing with those kids when they become teenagers. We need to break the cycle,” said Schimel.