Hinsdale District 86 officials: drug use an “epidemic” that can’t be ignored
Mark Geller, Hinsdale's school liaison officer, shows drug paraphernalia the police department confiscated to people at a drug awareness forum Nov. 7 | Kimberly Fornek—Sun-Times Media
Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, Outpatient Behavioral Health: (chemical dependency/abuse programs, free confidential assessments) Elise Matthei, (630) 856-7717, or Sue Sitton, (630) 856-7701
Alcoholism Treatment Center of Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield: Allison Johnsen (630) 933-4600, www.cdh.org
Elmhurst Memorial Healthcare: (free assessments, chemical dependence programs) Matt Quinn, (331) 221-6109, www.emhc.org
Rosecrance in Rockford: (substance abuse treatment, free assessments) Claudie Evenson, (630) 849-4295 or (815) 387-5615. www.recoverystartshere.com
Robert Crown Center in Hinsdale (heroin education program) (630) 325-1900
Drug Free World: (provides free information and videos about drugs and alcohol)
(888) 668-6378 or (818) 952-5260; www.drugfreeworld.org
Updated: December 16, 2012 6:27AM
DARIEN — “This is a real epidemic we are faced with,” said DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin. “The only way we are going to deal with it, is as a community.”
Berlin was speaking about drug abuse, and specifically heroin addiction, to about 100 people who attended a parent education forum Nov. 7, hosted by Hinsdale High School District 86 at Hinsdale South High School.
Other speakers included parents of drug addicts, drug counselors and District 86 social workers.
John Roberts, whose son died from a heroin addiction, shared his personal story. Roberts was excited about moving to Homer Glen after he retired from the Chicago Police Department. But soon after his son Billy started high school, he was introduced to drugs.
“I was shocked when Billy told me he tried heroin. I was shocked he could find it out here” and that he didn’t seem concerned about how dangerous it was. Billy died of heroin addiction when he was 19.
“These hard drugs are out here in the suburbs, including heroin,” Roberts said.
Heroin is becoming more powerful and less expensive, he said. Heroin used to be 4 to 7 percent pure, now it’s at least 20 percent pure, Roberts said, which means it does not have to be injected.
“They can snort it or smoke it,” he said.
“Look at this not as a crime problem, but as a public health problem,” Roberts said.
Hinsdale South social worker Edmund Arroyo told parentsteenagers by their nature try to push the envelope.
One of the mistakes parents make is rationalizing when their children start to get in trouble, he said. Parents may think, teenage drinking is common, or they will drink at college, “so I’m not going to make a big deal about it.”
“There has to be clear expectations set ahead of time,” Arroyo advised, “and let them know what the consequences are, so the kids can’t say they didn’t know or the consequences aren’t fair.”
Parents were told to keep their prescription drugs out of the reach of their teenagers.
Claudia Evenson, a drug addiction counselor at Rosecrance treatment center in Rockford, recommended teenagers not have control of pills, even if they are prescribed for them.
“You keep the bottle and distribute the medication. Some parents say that’s control,” Evenson said. “I would say that’s prevention.”
Marie and Jim Guthrie of Westmont attended the forum with their 13-year-old daughter.
“She is our oldest,” Marie Guthrie said. “We are so naive to all the drug use these days. We want to be as educated as possible.”