WAUSAU - When you hear about a serious crime in Marathon County, chances are, it's linked to drug use.
Community leaders feel crime rates will go down if drug abuse goes down.
That's why law enforcement and other groups launched the "Pushback Against Drug Abuse" campaign.
Today marked phase two of that campaign focusing on community involvement.
"We are not a population that ignores our problems. We take on the fights that matter, and this fight is worth taking on," said Wausau City Council Chairperson Lisa Rasmussen.
For Rasmussen, the fight against drug abuse is on.
"To create the energy the community needs to be a little bit angry about you know, all of these things that it sees and the activity in the neighborhoods," said Rasmussen.
Marathon County's "Pushback Against Drug Abuse" campaign now wants community involvement.
"It impacts our quality of life, it impacts the environment in our community and in our schools and it's important enough to us to take back the community and communicate the message out there that this community won't stand for it no more," said Rasmussen.
Sue Nowak is a local drug prevention specialist.
She believes drug abuse leads to larger problems.
Nowak knows the problem won't get smaller until the fight against it gets bigger.
"There are so many different aspects to addiction and what's going on in the community. So I think a team effort is the best way to approach it," said Nowak.
Part of that team is the Wausau Police Department.
They want community members to keep their eyes out for anything suspicious.
"So what do you do when you see this type of drug activity? We always ask you to call law enforcement so that we can go and investigate what is going on," said Captain Ben Bliven.
Bottom line, communication is key in the fight against drug abuse.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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