1 year ago


The Homer Horizon 021617

6 | February 16, 2017 |

6 | February 16, 2017 | The Homer Horizon news Drug and alcohol prevention, treatment a focus for area deputies “Exhibitors present an assortment of the latest services and 100’s of products “ - Since 1986 Kirsten Onsgard Contributing Editor A year ago, Brian left jail and began treatment. He had been there four months, following his second arrest of 2015: one for robbing cars, and another after an attempt to break into a pharmacy for prescription painkillers, an incident that is still a hazy memory. But with a nonviolent record, the Mokena resident, who asked his last name not be used, opted for a year of treatment, group meetings and nightly monitoring within Will County’s Drug Court Program. The decision, he said, would change his life during a year that would result in the highest number of opioid overdose deaths ever in Will County. Seventy-six people died from overdoses in 2016, a stark 43 percent increase from 2015. Across the state, more than 1,800 people died from overdoses in 2015, according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control, a “statistically significant” 7 percent increase from the previous year. Across the country, opioids killed more than 33,000 people that year. The deaths occurred despite ongoing local, county and state officials’ efforts to treat a national epidemic caused by powerful, intensely-addictive drugs through increased access to antagonists, education and treatment. Brian knows several people who died from overdoses. People tried to get him hooked on heroin, but the thought of an overdose frightened him. Instead, he stuck to prescription painkillers purchased from local dealers, in addition to sedatives and cocaine. He was good with technology, and he assumed he could juggle an addiction while one day studying computer science. He is clean cut and in his young 20s. People didn’t take him for an addict. “You never get anywhere,” Brian said. “You’re just a sitting duck. You don’t move forward, you just keep moving backwards. You just sink.” Instead, he cycled in and out of jail for small crimes for years. “This one to me is a public health crisis, just as the AIDS crisis, and we need to implement more prevention indications,” said Dr. Kathleen Burke, president of Strategic Prevention, which consults with Will County on drug prevention efforts. The crisis is the result of the loosely-regulated prescribing of painkillers intended for sick, hurt or dying patients, in addition to lack of effective mental health care and prevention education, Burke said. Death rates for synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, a drug at least 30 times stronger than heroin, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, have also surged across the country, and especially in Illinois. Thirty of the 76 reported overdose deaths in Will County last year were caused, at least in part, by fentanyl or related compounds. It is why one of Burke’s efforts is training law enforcement on the use of naloxone, known by its brand name Narcan, which can block the effect of opioids within minutes with a puff into the nose. The rollout, which initially began in the County in 2014 thanks to a Justice Assistance Grant, involved training would-be trainers at local agencies, who then teach officers and firefighters on how to administer the drug. In September 2015, Illinois mandated all law enforcement agencies have access to naloxone and provide training. According to Burke, there are currently more than 200 trainers in 45 municipalities in Will County. Burke said she has been teaching police and firefighters that stronger drugs can mean upping the naloxone dosage. Each officer carries two. “If you suspect fentanyl is involved, then you need to deliver two sprays instead of one,” Burke said. “Sometimes, if there’s two officers there and they have both their doses on them, it takes more than two. It all depends.” Last year, local police departments reported one lifesaving Narcan administration in Mokena, two in Frankfort and five by the Will County Sheriff’s Office. Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow estimated the total number of saves in the county to be in the hundreds. A new five-year grant this year will allow the County to expand naloxone training to community members, jails and families of those who are addicted, she said. Will County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jim Holuj, who is in charge of policing in Homer Glen, said like any other area in Will County, deputies deal with everything from marijuana to harder drugs. The police work closely with the Village, have a Please see police, 11 homer glen the Homer Horizon | February 16, 2017 | 7 Hashimotos Thyroiditis Multiple Sclerosis Sjogrens Syndrome Graves Thyroiditis Crohn’s Disease Hepatitis AI Psoriasis Celiac Disease Meniere’s Disease Type 1 Diabetes Ulcerative Colitis Vitiligo Rheumatoid Arthritis Lupus Scleroderma Most cases of auto-immunity continue to progress and ,as symptoms worsen, the person with the illness feels the effects ravaging their body and brain. Left unmanaged ,or just suppressed by steroids, the triggers of the autoimmune disease are still there wreaking havoc. What else can be done besides squelching the immune system with steroids? One needs to discover the underlying causes of the autoimmune disease. 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