Foster Calls For Increased Resources To Combat Heroin Use
Naperville, IL —Today Congressman Bill Foster held a roundtable discussion with community leaders on heroin use. They discussed what can be done, and what is being done to stop this epidemic.
“It is clear that we are facing an epidemic of heroin abuse in our community. We need innovative solutions to counteract this growing problem,” said Foster. “Unfortunately, one of the challenges we face is that as a result of the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration, the federal programs that help communities respond to these issues are facing funding shortfalls. That is unacceptable. We can and must do more to combat this epidemic that is taking the lives of children and adults from all walks of life in out community.”
“Education, prevention and treatment work as long as the communities are aware and open to discussions about addiction and heroin abuse,” said Jim Scarpace, Executive Director of the Gateway Foundation.
“Heroin addiction is a family problem that destroys family and community. We need to be more vocal and not be ashamed, because addiction is a disease that requires education, treatment and rehabilitation,” said Vicki Foley, President, Chris Walk Against Substance Abuse.
“We were deeply grateful to be a part of this important community conversation. At the Robert Crown Center for Health Education, we believe that prevention education is the best way to impact the problem of heroin and prescription pain pill abuse in our community. We look forward to working with Rep. Foster and all of our public officials involved in this fight against heroin addiction and death in the Chicago area,” said Joan Olson, Director of Communication at the Robert Crown Center for Health Education.
“Heroin has reached epidemic proportions in Kane County. The Kane County Drug Rehabilitation Court is seeing this phenomenon first-hand. At this same time last year, our most commonly reported drug of choice was cocaine. In October of 2013, 34% of the participants in the program reported heroin as their drug of choice, overtaking cocaine as the most frequently reported drug of choice. Our court has seen the effects of the budget cuts that effect treatment providers in our area. Lengths of stay for residential treatment have drastically decreased in order to compensate for the loss of federal revenue. This directly impacts those seeking recovery, especially those addicted to heroin-21 to 28 days is frequently just enough time to get a person sober enough to begin comprehending treatment. They are then discharged at this critical point and ideally should enter a halfway house immediately following residential treatment. Often this does not happen, again due to lack of funding, so the people in this fragile stage in their recovery are released back to the same environment they were living in prior to entering treatment. Many times this causes the cycle to begin all over again and lead to the person having to repeat residential treatment. Heroin is a unique and vicious predator that knows no socio-economic or cultural boundaries,” said Carrie Thomas, Coordinator, Kane County Drug Rehabilitation Court.
Participating organizations included:
Yellow Box Community Christian Church, ‘COMMUNITY’ is a group actively involved in spreading the prevention message to youth in the congregation and throughout the community.
Robert Crown Center, a leader in heroin prevention education, they have developed teaching videos and programs being piloted to prevent heroin usage.
Naperville School District 203, discussed prevention efforts, including an interactive video.
Gateway Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides drug rehabilitation services in our community, offered a perspective on addiction treatment and counseling.
Kane County Drug Rehabilitation Court, discussed their commitment to reducing drug use, drug addiction and crimes through an immediate and highly structured judicial intervention process.
Chris Walk Against Substance Abuse, established in the summer of 2007 after the death of Christopher Foley of a heroin overdose, CWASA supports and advocates for individuals suffering from addiction and their families.
Because of sequestration, funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration was cut by over $210 million last year. This is the agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that leads public efforts to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Agency’s budget was cut by nearly $120 million because of sequestration.