Children in Crisis - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Children in Crisis

Children in Crisis


By Elizabeth Fay

WAUSAU (WAOW)--People from across the state gather in Wausau to combat pressing issues: drug and child abuse. Doctors, law enforcement and social workers all participated in The 5th annual Drug Endangered Children conference. One woman's story brought some of them to tears.

Physical and sexual abuse are the harsh realities of Denise Brazell's childhood. She opened up about life with drug abusing parents. One of her worst experiences was finding herself trapped in a house fire after her mother passed out.

"She passed out after drinking about a fifth of Jack Daniels and using Demerol and Valium and a cigarette in her hand," says Brazzell. 

She survived the fire with 3rd degree burns covering 40% of her body. Like many drug endangered children, Brazzell grew up without a positive role model and a longing to feel loved.

She says she escaped the world of drugs thanks to kind words from a teacher. "She told me one day you are so much more than what you believe you are. I've never forgotten those words."

Brazzell went on to get her masters and then a job at the University of Kentucky. She married and vowed to raised her two kids without the influence of drugs. Brazzell takes every opportunity to inspire at risk youth and people who can make a difference.

"If it's a word, a smile a touch, reach out to a child in any way you have to do that. Whatever window of opportunity you have and make that difference instead of shying away from it because you think you can't."

The Drug Endangered Children's conference brings experts from across the state together to talk about better ways to understand and defeat drug abuse.

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Online Reporter: Elizabeth Fay

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