Staying ahead of the curve and keeping everyone informed about the dangers of illegal substances was one of many topics of discussion this week in Casper.

This week was the ninth annual Meth and Substance Abuse Conference, designed on informing law enforcement, recovery experts and the public about the latest trends.

The conference was originally designed to help in battle against methamphetamine, but over the years it has grown to include other topics such as alcohol abuse, spice and huffing.

Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh says one thing that the conference has been successful in, is getting the word out to abusers, that there are more places to get help than they might think.

"I think we're increasing awareness to where, particularly methamphetamine addiction and any kind of drug addiction is the dirty secret. Nobody wants to talk about it and now people hear it from us, they start to look for things and they realize that 'all right I can go ask some questions here' or 'I can get some help from this person;' and there's avenues out there for them, where you don't have to deal with this alone."

The Meth and Substance Abuse Conference was started in 2004, after a series a drug related homicides got the attention of Casper city leaders.