New Lenox Deputy Police Chief Bob Pawlisz reflected on the rise in popularity of heroin use in the village.
In the late '60s and '70s this kind of thing was popular,he said. Drug overdoses were a common occurrence. Then the use of heroin faded and seemed to shift to other forms of illegal drugs. But in the past couple years, heroin has re-emerged. There has been a distinct rise in the number of drug overdoses specifically due to heroin.
Heroin use is a problem in New Lenox and the surrounding communities, he said.
In light of recent arrests involving heroin, New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann and New Lenox Police are encouraging community members to attend a presentation that has received wide acclaim in communities throughout suburban Chicagoland.
The Will County HELPS (Heroin Education Leads to Preventative Solutions) is a presentation for parents and community members. It is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at Lincoln-Way Central High School's Lee F. Rosenquist Auditorium.
New Lenox Police have partnered with Will County HELPS in inviting the community to join county leaders to glean their insights about the problem that is sweeping the suburban region. The presentation features first-hand users and victims—those whose lives have been personally touched by heroin for a discussion about the prevention of heroin use.
"Too many people are dying and it is up to all of us to put an end to these senseless tragedies," say Will County HELPS representatives.
In May, Will County Coroner Patrick O'Neil referred to heroin and illegal drug use as an "epidemic." He told the Herald News that "only traffic accidents" rank ahead of heroin as the leading cause for "unnatural deaths."
Baldermann, the former police chief for Chicago Ridge, is hosting the event. Among the list of speakers are: Will County Executive Larry Walsh and Will County Judge Ray Nash.
Dr. Joe Troiani, of the Will County Health Department, is expected to shed light on the physical aspects of heroin use. And John Roberts, co-founder of HERO (Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization), is anticipated to provide a serious perspective about the wide-spread use of heroin.
Kris Adzia, of the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, is scheduled as well. And finally, a woman named Danielle H. (her last name has been withheld) is expected to paint a picture of the realities of living life as a heroin addict and how she maintains as a recovering heroin addict.
In addition, Pawlisz noted that a resource table is to be set up and manned with representatives from local treatment providers, churches and the medical community. The staff for the resource fair is slated to be available from 6-7 p.m., one hour before the presentation begins.