March 6th is Black Balloon Day. A day to remember those lost to overdose. Between 2020 and 2021, there was a 20% increase in drug overdose deaths among adolescents aged 14-18 years. Notably, in North Dakota there has been a concerning rise in fentanyl use, contributing to this surge in overdose fatalities.

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ConnectUs Therapy, a trauma-informed outpatient mental health clinic, serves Williston, ND, and its surrounding areas. The clinic provides mental health care for individuals of all ages, offering a comprehensive range of services catering to children, adolescents, and adults.

The ConnectUs Foundation is hosting a free public event titled "Drug Prevention: Fighting Fentanyl," aimed at empowering the community to guide youth towards informed decision-making. This event will take place from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on March 6 at Williston High School Auditorium, featuring guest speakers Rocky Herron and Brian Keen.

Rocky Herron, a retired DEA Special Agent with 31 years of experience, now serves as an Ambassador for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention for the San Diego County Office of Education. He will discuss the detrimental effects of illegal drug use on individuals, families, and communities, focusing on the recent surge in fentanyl use and overdose deaths, particularly prevalent in North Dakota. Herron will also shed light on the mental health risks associated with potent THC products and the underlying issues of self-medication and mental unwellness prevalent among American youth.

Brian Keen, with 25 years in law enforcement and currently leading SROs in the Kuna School District, brings his expertise to educate on wellness aspects—be it mental, physical, or emotional—emphasizing the importance of knowledge and balance.

The Student Outreach Dates are as follows:

  • Tioga Public School on March 4
  • Alexander Public School on March 5
  • Watford City Public School on March 5
  • Williston Public School on March 6

The event is made possible by the generous support of sponsors: VFW Williston Post 12169, The American Legion Edgar M. Boyd Post 37 Williston, The American Legion Carl E. Rogen Post 29 in Watford City, Our Redeemer's Lutheran Church, Our Redeemer's Youth Group, Veteran's Club of Kenmare, Kathryn Oksol, CHI St. Alexius Health Williston, and Petroleum Services.

Here is our interview with Rocky and Brian going over what they will discuss.

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