Today, DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin will join law enforcement and health care professionals at a Heroin Education and Prevention Forum sponsored by U.S. Representative Judy Biggert. The Forum, which is open to the public, will be held from 7-9 p.m. at North Central College Wentz Concert Hall, 171 East Chicago Avenue, Naperville.
“According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2011, more than 90,000 people over the age of twelve had tried heroin for the first time,” Berlin said.
Last year, Roger and Nadeane Hruby of donated $340,000 to the Robert Crowne Center for Health Education in Hinsdale for a heroin prevention and project in honor of their grandson. Their grandson, Reed Hruby, had lost his battle with heroin addiction and recovery in 2008.
"Heroin addiction doesn’t just affect the addict, it rips the fabric of the entire family ... We’re willing to share our tragedy in order to prevent one child from starting down this deadly path,” said Brenda Hruby Giesel, Reed's aunt at the announcement of the project last May.
Berlin said in a media announcement about the forum that he believes only education can prevent children from becoming one of the 90,000 first-time users.
“Heroin doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t recognize geographical, social or economic boundaries. It claims men and women alike as its victims. That’s why forums such as this are so important. We need to educate not only our children, but ourselves as well, about the devastating effects heroin use has on our bodies, our families and our communities,” said Berlin.
Joining Berlin at the Forum, which will feature presentations and a panel discussion, will be representatives from the the Robert Crown Center, Drug Enforcement Agency and the Center for Compulsive Behavior and Addiction at Rush University Medical Center. In addition, John Roberts, the founder of Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization (HERO) who lost his son to a heroin overdose, will present at the forum.
“I would like to thank Representative Biggert for hosting this Forum and for shining a light on the problem of increased heroin use among teenagers,” Berlin said. “We have needlessly lost far too many lives to heroin. Hopefully, with forums such as this, we will be able to educate the public about this incredibly dangerous drug and begin the difficult task of reducing the number of first-time users one person at a time.”
*Information about today's forum was provided by the DuPage County State's Attorney's office.