Heroin’s devastating effect on individuals, families and communities will be explored for several weeks during public events hosted at Moraine Park Technical College.

The College and area community organizations are partnering to bring a “Heroin Highway” lecture series and a “Hidden in Plain Sight” bedroom display to Moraine Park’s West Bend campus.

The first of this five-part lecture series is scheduled for Jan. 26 and runs each Thursday thereafter until Feb. 23. All lectures will be hosted from 6 to 7 p.m. in Room T-101.

Meanwhile, the “Hidden in Plain Sight” interactive display will give parents, family and caregivers a tangible glimpse of warning signs their child may be using drugs.

The exhibit is a replica of a teenager’s bedroom with more than 30 different items hidden or in plain view that may help identify areas where teens may hide drugs, alcohol and other paraphernalia. It also points out household items that can be used to either cover up drug and alcohol abuse or can be used to facilitate drug and alcohol use.

Guided tours of the exhibit bedroom are also scheduled for Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. through Feb. 23. The exhibit is located next to the campus library.

According to Pete Rettler, dean of Moraine Park’s West Bend campus, the bedroom display is an eye-opening experience.

Planning the lecture series was too.

“We have been planning this lecture series for over four months and, although I was aware of a heroin problem, I didn’t know how horrible the problem was and how difficult it was to overcome,” Rettler said. “Numerous times we had named a speaker to contact for one of the lectures, and numerous times at the next meeting we learned that the identified speaker was no longer sober. Sometimes we found out they were back in prison, sometimes we found out that they were using again, sometimes they just disappeared.”

Both the lecture series and room tours are free to attend and open to everyone 18 and older.

A full list of lectures include:

  • January 26: Is It Really Here? At this session, attendees will hear from families who lost a loved one and law enforcement on the current status of the heroin epidemic.
  • February 2: Struggles of Addiction. This will focus on hearing from those who have loved ones struggling with addiction.
  • February 9: After the Bars Close. Attendees will hear from those whose addiction landed them in prison.
  • February 16: Celebrating Recovery & Legislation. This session will celebrate recovery and discussion on legislation that has passed.
  • February 23: Heroin Simulation. Observe how destructive heroin is on the body, including watching a health education simulator mannequin react to the drug and how an ER would respond. This presentation features students and staff from the Moraine Park nursing department.

This project is a partnership between the Rotary Club of West Bend, the Washington County Heroin Task Force, Elevate and Moraine Park Technical College.

For more information, visit morainepark.edu/events.