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posted: 10/23/2013 4:40 AM

Time to step up and combat heroin abuse

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I commend the Daily Herald for its succession of articles and editorial opinions focusing attention on the record rise of heroin overdose deaths throughout DuPage County. The Herald has been the messenger about this "hidden scourge" for over 10 years, educating its readers of the plight of heroin use.

It was DuPage County Coroner Richard Jorgensen who came out and let be known the impact heroin has had on the public's safety. Coroner Jorgensen had the courage to speak to the DuPage County Board, alerting them of this epidemic.

Heroin use is not just among those with poor upbringings and low social status but permeates all areas of our communities. I personally know of two heroin deaths about 10 years ago of young men I knew from the neighborhood who came from stable, good homes.

Now the question is what are county officials going to do concerning this problem? In the past there was indifference among many officials, and some of that still exists today.

Being that this is a countywide problem it would make sense that its officials step up to the plate to coordinate a means to get help for those addicted individuals who want help. The county board has the capacity to assemble the players; i.e. the judiciary, state's attorney, law enforcement, social services and treatment services.

Some might say we already have a drug court, but many applicants are excluded because of its rigid acceptance policies.

County officials need to mobilize now to prevent future heroin overdose deaths by enacting a new heroin program. Without intervention, people we know may be at risk of death.

Paula McGowen

Glen Ellyn

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