Hero Helps Conference Announced
Posted on: Mar 7, 2012
Local leaders to host community forum and youth rally to tackle drug overdose epidemic
Local leaders who are concerned about the growing number of fatal drug overdoses in Will County will tackle all aspects of this important public health crisis during a Community Forum and Youth Rally on April 13, 2012 on the Lewis University campus.Teenagers and college students are among those who are encouraged to save the date for this important and educational forum. The daylong event also will provide critical information for educators, public health providers, law enforcement professionals, church leaders, elected officials or any citizen who is concerned about the impact substance abuse has in our communities. The Community Forum, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. and run throughout the day, will feature educational presentations and discussions by experts in the fields of criminal justice, counseling, health care, education and prevention. The Youth Rally, which runs from 6-8 p.m., will feature performances by national bands as well as testimonials about the dangers of drug abuse and a memorial to young people who were killed by their addictions. The Youth Rally will be appropriate for both high school teenagers and college students. Drug poisoning is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have classified drug overdoses as an epidemic. The Chicago suburbs have been particularly hard hit by fatal heroin overdoses. Will County has witnessed a dramatic increase in heroin overdose deaths, rising from a few each year to approximately 30 annually for the past three years. In 2011, 28 Will County citizens died as the result of heroin overdose. Deaths from all drug overdoses in Will County number around 57 annually.“Everyone must join together to fight substance abuse and prevent overdose deaths,” said Paul Laurdisen, clinical director for Stepping Stones Treatment and Recovery Center in Joliet. “The upcoming Community Forum and Youth Rally will put solutions on the table and inspire a grassroots effort to educate our community.” Organizers are in the process of scheduling presenters and bands. A complete intinerary will be released in the coming weeks. The event is a collaborative effort by HERO, Will County HELPS, Lewis University, the Southwest Coalition for Substance Abuse Issues and the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. For more information, visit us on the web.