Ripon Police Sgt. Tim Schroeder describes the law-enforcement pillar to, from left, Candy Fitzwater, Carol Sachen and Gary Wetzel.
Ripon Police Sgt. Tim Schroeder describes the law-enforcement pillar to, from left, Candy Fitzwater, Carol Sachen and Gary Wetzel.

   Three and a half years ago, Ripon’s first Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse Summit attracted 300 to 400 area residents on a cold, November night.

   A town hall event Monday in the Ripon High School community room brought 20 out on a beautiful spring day.

   Those who came to the session, hosted by the Ripon Opioid Initiative of Drug Free Communities of Fond du Lac County (DFC), learned that the Ripon community is making headway toward addressing and combatting opioid addiction.

   “This is an important part of the progress that we continue to have,” Ripon Police Chief Bill Wallner said in welcoming visitors to the meeting.

   But then he told them that more needs to be done.

   “Obviously this initiative continues to be very important to us,” Wallner said, pointing out that while the city experienced two opioid overdoses in 2012, it had seven last year.

   “And we already had one fatal overdose this year,” he added. “This continues to be an issue that we’re seeing every day and it also impacts a lot of the things that we’re dealing with in the law enforcement pillar on a day-to-day basis.”

   Team leaders for the Four Pillars work groups, who are cooperating to address opioid abuse in the Ripon area, discussed how their groups have made progress in their respective “pillars.”

Read the full story, with information about progress made on each of the pillars, in the May 10, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.