MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Prescription drugs and heroin are both problems in Hennepin County.

The Hennepin County Sheriff said many who use or take them are young people.

So the county began a program to try and change that.

On Thursday, 20 local kids hopped on a boat for the 8th annual “Hooked on Fishing; Not on Drugs” event.

The goal is to help them understand the dangers and reinforce the importance of making good choices.

The fishing event is for kids who are enrolled in summer camp with the Boys and Girls Club.

It’s being used as a conversation starter to talk to them about avoiding peer pressure and staying away from drugs.

“Hooked on Fishing; Not on Drugs” is a chance for the kids to enjoy a fun activity that promotes healthy lifestyle choices as opposed to negative influences like drug use.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the Boys and Girls Club and the Hennepin County Sheriff Foundation for the event.

Sheriff Rich Stanek said it’s a time for deputies to have candid conversations and it promotes positive interaction between them and the children.

“I caught a fish today for the first time. My first time was really good,” participant Shekeil Smith said.

“Kids are really inquisitive, so they tend to try to experiment things. We want them to understand you can talk to somebody about this, you can ask these questions,” Stanek said.

WCCO asked Sheriff Stanek what parents can do to keep the conversation going. He said they should ask questions about their children’s friends, what they do after school, monitor text messages and online activity.

Additionally, Stanek said kids are usually introduced to drugs by someone they know.

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