BREWER- Tonight’s event, put on by the Brewer Police Department, the Brewer School System, and the Bangor Area Recovery Network, aims to teach kids and community members about the dangers of opiate abuse.
Law enforcement believes that combating the issue is now beyond their control, so they best they can do is spread information.
“We can’t enforce our way out of this anymore. Police officers have tried for 40 years or longer to use the law to get people to stop using and it’s not working. So we really have to use education, treatment and law enforcement,” said Perry Antone, the Chief of the Brewer Police Department.
Hundreds gathering at the Brewer Performing Arts Center Wednesday night to learn about the dangers that heroin causes. With opiate abuse becoming a growing issue in the area, police believe it will take community effort to make a change.
“What we’re trying to do is get public awareness and change some attitudes toward addiction and let people know that no one is immune to it,” said Antone.
The event was held in the school system during the school day, and tonight was opened up to the community. It featured several speakers, including Marie Allen, whose daughter was a victim of the disease.
“I lost my daughter Erin to a heroin overdose in June of 1997 at the age of 21,” said Allen.
Allen explains that when her daughter was in jail during her addiction, she said that when she got clean, she would go to schools and tell her story so that others doing fall into the same path.
Today, Allen tells Erin’s story because Erin cannot.
“I think they need to know the honest truth, and what we give them is what can really happen to them if they get involved with this drug. This drug is the devil,” said Allen.
Allen expresses how important it is to not give up fighting the disease, and for parents of addicts to not give up on their children.
For more information on tonight’s forum, visit brewermaine.gov/police.