HUDSON — Law enforcement leaders, elected officials and program experts next week will tackle a problem that’s not going away in St. Croix County: substance abuse.

The event, the St. Croix County Community Substance Abuse Forum, will be held Wednesday, Sept, 18, at the Government Center in Hudson. It is free and open to the public.

READ MORE: Hudson district approves 2019-2020 tax levy, mill rate | St. Croix County growth outpacing census estimates

Organizer and St. Croix County Board Supervisor Bob Feidler said he hopes discussion during the event will lift a curtain to the problem and foster efforts to solve it.

“Drug abuse is a growing problem in St. Croix County and the purpose of this program is to inform the public about the scope of the problem, steps that are being taken to limit drug abuse, treatment options and preventive measures engaged in by law enforcement,” he said.

The program begins with an overview on local substance abuse issues by St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Michael Waterman. The judge, who presides over St. Croix County’s drug court, will also discuss treatment courts.

That will be followed by a panel discussion on substance abuse education featuring Sen. Patty Schachtner, D-Somerset, New Richmond Police Chief Craig Yehlik and New Richmond School District Superintendent Patrick Olson.

Treatment will be the next order of business during a panel discussion featuring Hudson Hospital Choice Program manager Brian Bartlett, St. Croix County Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse supervisor Kristin Deprey, St. Croix County Health and Human Services medical representative Dr. Paul McGinnis and St. Croix County Child Services supervisor Mathew Zabel.

A panel comprising St. Croix County Sheriff Scott Knudson, District Attorney Michael Nieskes and drug court coordinator Kim Kitzberger will address prevention measures.

The event is scheduled to be wrapped with a presentation by Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Dick Mah, who will speak about drug issues in the Upper Midwest.

The forum will be from 8 a.m. to noon in the Government Center boardroom.