Emotional discussion about the dangers of heroin abuse at south county meeting

LEMAY, MO (KTVI) – An unusual fair at a south county middle school Wednesday night. There were no games or carnival rides. Instead, there was serious discussion about heroin and death.

The Hancock Place School District and four other school districts came together to hold the South County Epidemic Resource Fair.

People who survived drug addiction told of their personal experience.

“I think people have hit a point where there so many deaths in our area that we have no choice we have to take action there’s no more talking about it we have to take action,” said Sherry Rischbieter, a crisis counselor at Hancock Place.

It was an emotional night for many folks, including St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who became tearful when talking about his 23-year-old nephew, Mitch, who died from a heroin overdose.

“The impact it had on my family was such that I would never want to see that same kind of impact on any other family in our community,” Stenger said. “If you choose heroin, you’re choosing death.”

The halls of the middle school were filled with different agencies ready to arm parents with information, what they can and should do if their child becomes an addict.

Mike Peterson and his wife, Barbara, lost their 26-year-old son to heroin in March. Since then, the couple purchased a drug testing company. Their goal is to give away as many testing kits as they can to help parents keep a close eye on children. They planned to give away as many as 500 free drug test kits Wednesday night.

Mary Goodwin brought her daughter and son to hear the speakers.

“I hope they learn to stay away from drugs and say ‘no.’ If somebody tries to push the issue on them, ‘no,’ walk away,” she said.