After Viral Facebook Post, Keene Officials to Address Public Substance Abuse at Forum

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In a July photo shared widely on Facebook in the Keene area, a man slumps over on a park bench in the city's downtown.

The city of Keene will hold a public forum on drug and alcohol abuse Tuesday, stemming from a July Facebook post shared widely among city residents. The post included a photo of a man slumped over on a park bench downtown in broad daylight.

It’s hard to see in the picture, but some say the man had a needle sticking out of his arm. The woman who posted the photo wrote she doesn't feel safe taking her son to the park.

After seeing that message and the outpouring of public response, City Councilor Randy Filiault called for an open meeting. Concerns have been growing around drug and alcohol abuse, and aggressive panhandling in town, he said.

“A lot of people have come up to me, whether just grocery shopping or on the street, and asked, ‘what is the city doing?’” Filiault said. The meeting will be an opportunity for residents to raise concerns and ideas, and for city officials to provide more information.

The event starts Tuesday at 6pm at Keene’s high school auditorium.