Heroin Use and Teen Deaths in Lake County IL

Teens are dying from heroin use in affluent county north of Chicago.

Alcohol is the number one drug in Lake County for substance abuse treatment.  Number two will probably surprise you.  It’s heroin.  Median family incomes near six figures in DuPage and Lake Counties make heroin feasible and profitable.  So it’s no surprise that Chicago is the number one importation city for drugs in the Midwest.  Money drives drug use.

ABC 7 News’ Eric Horng did a story about it on March 09, 2013.  Horng reported that from 2007 – 2011 heroin fatalities in Lake County doubled.  That’s frightening.  If for no other reason than during the summer of 2012, there was an inordinate amount of heroin dumped on the streets of Lake County.  I know – I spoke with the Lake County Sherriff’s Department last fall when several teens seeking help with heroin addiction called my office over a three-week period of time.  Most had no income or insurance, and some were on the streets.  They had no access to treatment.  And Lake County’s Health Department had a waiting list that was so long that they were no longer talking names.

Heroin is producing a lot of concern amongst the law enforcement and medical communities. In Lake County, the most affected are teens. They account for the majority of the use and the fatalities. As I work with teens, I hear about the deaths as they occur – the girl who shot up in her parent’s back yard for the first time and died.  The guy whose five-year heroin habit took him out after a batch of uncut heroin had him using a little too much one fall afternoon.  It’s frightening out there.  The kids see it.  They’re the biggest part of it.

Heroin is Goliath. You expose yourself to Goliath and you’re in for the battle of your life.  Unlike other drugs that take longer for addiction to set in, heroin is essentially immediate. Hollywood understands that concept and they have the carnage to prove it; River Phoenix, Chris Farley, and John Belushi to name a few. Although the people of Lake County Illinois aren’t famous, the same rule applies to them.  Long-term heroin use is not attainable.  Quit or die.  There is no third option.

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