21-year-old Peter Rundo is being held at Will County Jail for selling heroin to several undercover narcotics officers
“It’s really a shame,” said friend Jonathan Humphreys. “At first he was just struggling with addiction and then to find out he was also dealing, and this was a friend growing up and it just hits me. It’s another friend and I really want to help this kid.”
Humphreys has been trying to help others struggling with addiction as a founder of an Open Hearts Open Eyes, a forum on Facebook, of which Rundo was reported to be also be a founder.
But Caroline Kacena, who’s own son died of an overdose last year, says that’s not the case.
“Peter was a good friend of my son John but he was not a founding member but he did participate in the group,” she said. “It is an open forum and there are active acts on that page. They come there seeking information and to find resources.”
The DuPage County Coroner’s Office is reporting a record number of heroin overdoses for the year, with 38 cases so far. That’s equal to all of last year.
“It is cheap. It is user friendly, easy to get and I believe it is being marketed as not as heroin,” said Kacena. “I’ve talked to several families and young people who’ve been given heroin unknowingly, as my son was, and it’s being marketed as other substances.”
Marissa Bahtt, also of the open hearts, open eyes group, says drug addicts often go un-noticed and don’t fit a particular stereotype.
“They look like you. They look like me,” said Bahtt. “Addiction is something people are not proud of so they try to hide. It you’re not going to see someone and be like, oh they’re definitely an addict.”
Members hope the Facebook support group continues to open people’s eyes to the reality that heroin is here.
“Before that, nobody wanted to even admit that heroin was in our community,” said Kacena. “Now we at least have shows like this. We have information out there for families still struggling with this.”
She’s also licensed to legally distribute and train others on how to administer the overdose reversal drug Naloxone, a life-saver she says should be in every addict’s home.
Naloxone has no apparent adverse effects and DuPage County police officers are expected to soon carry the drug in their squad cars.
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