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Families from throughout the Racine Unified community are invited to “An Evening with Ellsworth,” a presentation about heroin and opiate use and abuse May 19 at Washington Park High School. The presentation will feature female inmates from Robert E. Ellsworth Correctional Facility sharing their personal stories about how opiate and/or heroin use landed them in prison. Additional resources will also be available for parents about the signs of opiate use and what they can do to help prevent drug abuse with their students. Park Activities Director Bill O’Malley said he was working with Focus on Community to address with seniors the dangers of marijuana and binge drinking associated with the annual prom festivities when he discovered they also have opiate and heroin awareness programs. “It seems like we hear something almost every day, and it’s so scary,” he said. “The point of this event is for families to come and then talk about it.” To be clear, O’Malley has not heard about any opiate and/or heroin use involving Park students. “I don’t know about any stories at Park, but I don’t want to wait. I’d rather be proactive because I think people only think about heroin as being about needles,” he added. “But opiates are just as dangerous, and are as easy to get as opening the family medicine cabinet or going through a friend’s medicine cabinet.” According to a recent report at WISN 12 News, heroin use in Wisconsin is four times the national average. The news station recently dedicated two days of newscasts to the issue. “The goal is to introduce the topic with real information from real people so parents and their teens know what’s out there and how to avoid it,” O’Malley continued. “Families need awareness.” “An Evening with Ellsworth” begins at 7 p.m. May 19 at Park, 1901 12th Street, The event is free and open to the public. Anyone who attends will be entered into a drawing.

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In addition to our education features, we’ll be kicking off a series of stories highlighting how parents, students, and educators are adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on education. If this is important to you, please consider donating to our education reporting fund. https://business.facebook.com/donate/1846323118855149/3262802717172659/