More than 100 concerned parents and residents gathered at Wheatland Salem Church in Naperville to discuss the growing problem of Heroin plaguing the suburbs…
Last year there were six heroin-related deaths in Naperville alone, plus almost 50 arrests for possession of the drug.
Alcohol and substance abuse counselors urged parents to take action before it’s too late.
“You have a 50% greater chance of keeping kids safe and away from drugs If you educate your kids early and have that talk often,” said Kimberly Groll, counselor for the Care Clinic of Naperville.
At less than 10 bucks a hit, it’s now cheaper to do Heroin than it is to go to the movies. Counselors say that, along with its appeal among teenagers as a quick-fix to stress or depression, have made Heroin increasingly popular in recent years.
“For kids who start to participate in alcohol or drug use and realize, ‘wow I can get this immediate high or get this pleasure of feeling good that I haven’t felt in I don’t know how long,’ once they star that process, it’s difficult to get them away from those substances,” said Jim Scarpace, Substance Abuse Program Manager for the Gateway Foundation.
Heroin use can trick the brain into stopping vital functions like breathing and the heart beat.
That’s exactly what happened to 18-year-old Megan Miller who overdosed on Heroin in January. Her parents say after being sexually assaulted, Megan turned to drugs in order to cope with facing her attacker in court.
“His life didn’t change. My daughter’s spiraled out of control,” said Amy Miller.
The Millers joined the panel discussion, along with Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, if you take that drug one time, it takes a hold on you like nothing else,” said Glasgow. “Rational thought comes undone.”
Some parents came to the meeting shocked about the Heroin epidemic…
“To think that teenagers that are 16, 17 years old are doing Heroine – and that’s the worst drug out there – it just shakes your whole foundation,” said Laura Thomas, a Naperville parent.
While others left feeling hopeful that the community is taking strides towards a drug-free Naperville…
“I’ve been happy with the raised awareness because I think it helps parents realize they are not alone,” said Heather Saylor. “And if we stick together, hopefully we can solve this problem.”
Additional, similar forums are planned in the near future, including on April 3rd at Naperville North High School and on April 5th at Neuqua Valley High School, both starting at 7pm.
Reporting from Wheatland Salem Church, Kevin Machak, Naperville News 17.
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