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Heroin forum planned at Lewis University

Updated: February 28, 2013 6:50AM

Heroin abuse continues to plague communities across the state of Illinois, including Naperville.

Because of the problem, an area forum on heroin use will be held April 19 at Lewis University on Route 53 in Romeoville.

The event is designed to bring community leaders and the public together to learn what can be done to turn around this dangerous trend.

Last April, a similar community forum at Lewis drew nearly 800 people from across the state who attended a daylong conference which addressed the social, legal, medical, and community effects of heroin use.

This year’s event is being sponsored by Will County HELPS (Heroin Education Leads to Preventative Solutions) and HERO (Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization) in conjunction with the Southwest Coalition for Substance Abuse Issues. At the end of this conference, organizers hope a standardized protocol across hospitals will be developed to help overdose patients and their families.

“Tragically, the number of heroin overdose deaths in Will County has dramatically increased,” said Paul Lauridsen, clinical director of Stepping Stones Treatment and Recovery Center in Joliet. “The leap from 30 heroin overdose deaths in 2011 to 54 deaths in 2012 demands widespread community action.”

“A number of experts in their fields will be speakers at the forum,” Lauridsen said. “They will be sharing information about best practices and promising approaches in healthcare and educational settings.”

Medical professionals, counselors/social workers, treatment and prevention providers, university and high school students, parents, educators, consumers, community service organization representatives, police, judges, prosecutors, and public officials are invited to attend the event.

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