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posted: 7/13/2012 11:51 AM

Suburban teen heroin use focus of Naperville forum

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Daily Herald report

The growing problem of heroin use among suburban teenagers will be the focus of a community forum Monday in Naperville.

The forum hosted by U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. at North Central College's Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Presenters include a recovering heroin addict, a representative from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and several experts in health education and addiction recovery.

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"Heroin use among kids has taken an alarming turn, and for many parents, it's not a drug we're used to watching out for," Biggert said in a news release. "One drug-related death is too many. And experts agree that the most important weapon we have in this battle is prevention."

The event will feature a series of presentations and a panel discussion on the prevalence of heroin in the suburbs and what law enforcement is doing to combat the trend. There also will be a presentation from a man who launched the nonprofit Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization in the wake of his son's fatal overdose.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 90,000 people ages 12 and older tried heroin for the first time last year, said DuPage County State's Attorney Robert Berlin, who will also join the community meeting. Berlin said he hopes the discussion will help reduce that number.

"It would be incredibly naive of us to think that none of those 90,000 first-time users live in our communities," Berlin said. "We need to educate not only our children but ourselves as well about the devastating effects heroin use has on our bodies, our families and our communities."

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