Investigator uses pageant platform to raise prescription drug abuse awareness | RecordCourier.com

Investigator uses pageant platform to raise prescription drug abuse awareness

by Amy Alonzo
aalonzo@recordcourier.com

Douglas County Sheriff's Office Investigator Nadine Chrzanowski is using her position as a candidate for Mrs. Nevada-America to raise awareness about prescription drug addiction, a problem she said she's seen grow dramatically in the Carson Valley over the past 12 years.

Of the hundreds of heroin addicts she's spoken to over the years, the overwhelming majority reported their addiction started with prescription pain medication, Chrzanowski said.

"Anytime you have a heroin problem, you have an underlying prescription drug problem," she said.

Chrzanowski is combining her work as an investigator with her position as a candidate for Mrs. Nevada-America to offer two free prescription drug awareness classes in January.

The 35-year old Minden resident is a contestant in the Mrs. Nevada-America Pageant, scheduled for March 5 at the Suncoast Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. It is her second year competing in the pageant.

Each contestant is required to perform community service based on a topic she has an interest in — Chrzanowski chose drug abuse among kids, with a focus on prescription drugs.

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The two classes she's offering are geared toward helping parents increase their awareness about what addiction looks like in youth.

"I think it starts with the kids," she said. "Parents are uninformed on new drug trends and what kids are looking at."

The classes are geared toward teaching parents how to recognize opiates, the signs of addiction, how to approach the topic of addiction with kids and resources for parents who think their kids might need help.

"As a parent, obviously drug abuse amongst our youngsters is important to me," Chrzanowski said. She and her husband, Andrew, a firefighter/paramedic, have an eight-year-old daughter. "Over the last year I've seen several juvenile overdoses and it's really concerning for me."

Chrzanowski is no stranger to teaching classes — she teaches drug classes at Douglas and Aspire Academy high schools, boxing classes for people with Parkinson's Disease and self-defense classes for women.

"If it's important to this community, it's important to me," she said. "I really hope people will come and educate themselves."

Classes are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 11 and Jan. 25 in the training room at the Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Building, 1625 Water St. in Minden.

For more information or to reserve a seat, contact Chrzanowski at 782-9074.