Updated: 05/29/2014 7:35 AM
Created: 05/28/2014 10:00 PM KSTP.com
By: Tim Sherno
With recent high-profile drug-related deaths in Washington County, Sheriff Bill Hutton's message about illegal drugs is clear.
"You need to have it on your radar, no matter who you are, what type of family setting you have, how perfect you think your family is, or how many issues your family has," he said. "You have to have it on your radar."
Hutton points to six heroin-related deaths in Washington County just in 2014, adding that parents struggle to accept that heroin is available.
"I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to a family and it started off with, 'Not my son. Not my daughter,'" he said.
According to Hutton, heroin users share a common starting point. "Time and time again, almost every time we have contact with an individual who's been in our jail for the use of heroin, or dealing heroin, they will tell us that they began their journey by the use of prescription medication," Hutton said.
Hutton suggests parents be well-informed about their children's friends, activities and awareness of the availability of illegal drugs, asking "Do you see these things occurring? Do you know what to do? Do you know how to deal with it? Do you know who to tell, who to talk to? Do you know you can come to me if there is an issue?"