DeKalb County Board Chairman Jeff Metzger was invited to be part of the Community Leadership Forum on Heroin Prevention on March 7. Congressman Randy Hultgren organized a group to talk about this growing problem. The keynote speaker was Captain Jeffrey Coady, regional administrator for Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. The moderator was Kathie Jane-Willis, director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University. Metzger invited Jane-Willis to DeKalb County to present a workshop to educate the county board and county officials.
“Between the state of Illinois and our own county budget, we have made cuts to our health and human services area to the bone,” Metzger said. “We need to identify alternate means for funding to assist with this problem. Not only funding for training and awareness, but to have the budget to purchase overdose rescue kits.”
The overdose kits include Naloxone and syringes to help reverse the effects of an opiate or heroin overdose.
Heroin continues to grow in popularity, in part because it is less expensive and easier to obtain than a cup of gourmet coffee. Eighty percent of addicts transition to heroin from prescribed opiates, so more pharmacies and professional associations need to work together.
The focus group is a means of sharing resources to find out what is working. The focus group agreed that it will be important to continue working together with hopes of finding ways to increase and promote awareness.