SPECIAL REPORT: Heroin: Fighting back - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

SPECIAL REPORT: Heroin: Fighting back

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MARATHON CO. (WAOW)--The heroin problem isn't just someone else's problem. It's central Wisconsin's.

Carol Dixon of Wausau knows all too well what heroin is capable of; it killed her son.

"He purchased some heroin, did it and passed out in the vehicle and drove into the bridge," said Dixon.

Michael Dixon, gone at age 24.

But you see when Carol thinks of her only son, she doesn't think of a typical drug user.

"Growing up as a kid he was fine. Just your typical kid," said Dixon. "He told us he had an issue with heroin and it shocked us."

That's the thing about heroin.

"All types of people, professionals, people of all walks of life are affected by this," said Sue Belanger with Wausau Health Services.

City leaders say heroin is taking over our city, neighborhoods and schools.

"Everyday we are working we see the impact of it whether we are arresting someone or finding actual heroin," said Capt. Ben Bliven with the Wausau Police Department.

Melissa Dotter with the Drug Free Communities program at the Marathon County Health Department says it's time to make a change.

"I think that people are ready to get involved," said Dotter.

Now the Marathon County community is taking steps to fight back.

Police departments are setting up drop boxes for any prescription drugs and some are open 24 hours a day.

"It's a way to keep them out of the hands of children."

Marathon County now has a push back program for community to become informed on the deadly drug.

In September, more than 60 people came to a heroin summit in Wausau.

"I've never seen the room filled like that so it's great to see people from the community get together and take some action steps," said Bliven.

An FBI intelligence analyst recently made the trip to Wausau to talk to the group about the problem and solutions.

"This isn't a problem that law enforcement can tackle that health officials can tackle alone it's something that the whole community needs to get involved in and needs to have a part in trying to stop," said John Kumm.

That includes early awareness and detection.

Wausau Police recently invited me along on an unannounced search for drugs using police dogs.

The dogs didn't find any illegal drugs.

Overall in this fight against heroin leaders say the best thing you can do now is get informed.

Learn how this drug is being used in our community and what it can take away.

"There is one less person in my family. It was tragic," said Dixon.

A tragedy the Dixon's want you to learn from.

For more information on the heroin problem in Wisconsin, click here.

For more information on the the Push Back in Marathon County, click here.

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