Forum Thursday to address Hudson heroin problem

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After a recent spike in heroin overdose deaths, a forum is being held Thursday evening in Hudson, Wis. to address the epidemic.

Heroin is to blame for 12 deaths in Hudson and surrounding communities over the last three years--three occurring in just the last sixth months, according to authorities. The most recent was 21-year-old Alysa Jenea Ivy, who was found dead in a Hudson motel room on May 18.

Her mother, Karen Hale, told KARE 11 that her daughter's drug addiction began when she was prescribed Tylenol 3 after her wisdom teeth were removed. Ivy became addicted and a friend eventually supplied heroin.

Authorities say they've heard Ivy's story before. Many addicts turn to the street drug after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers because heroin is cheap and easier to find.

According to the Pioneer Press, heroin makes its way to Hudson from the Twin Cities, where authorities are also confronted with an alarming number of heroin overdose cases. The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said last month that Minnesota has some of the purest and cheapest heroin in the country, a dangerous combination for young people.

"We are trying to do something about this," Hudson police Sgt. Geoff Willems told the newspaper. "But we, as law enforcement, cannot do it alone. We need information from the community (and) cooperation from the community. It's only going to get worse unless we stop and do something about it."

The forum is being held by the Hudson Community Foundation at 6:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1901 Vine Street, in Hudson.

A number of community members, including Hale, current addicts and members of law enforcement, will speak at the forum.

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