Dozens gathered at John A Logan College Tuesday for the 3rd annual Opioid Prescription Drug and heroin Abuse summit.
“Look at current data in Southern Illinois and I’m sure some of you will be surprised.”
Southern Illinois is seeing an increase in prescription drug abuse and heroin use.
“There’s also been an increase in women particularly in Southern Illinois than any parts of the state.”
Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois CEO Marvin Lindsey helped organize Tuesday’s summit.
One of the trends Lindsey’s learned about is how young people getting hurt can lead to an addiction.
“They take them and they get more and they become addicted and once the doctor stops prescribing them, then they kind of gravitate towards heroin.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health decided to focus on opioid prescription abuse, education, intervention and recovery because of the current data.
“80% of our heroin users initiated their substance abuse with prescription drugs.”
Allison Hasler with the IDPH says there are many agencies and strategies being used to combat this epidemic.
“Some of that is education and some of it is training for our providers so there’s a lot of different approaches going on right now.”
Franklin County has seen an 7% increase in opioid deaths between 2014 and 2015, Sheriff Don Jones says this concerns him.
“It is a law enforcement problem, but it is a public health issue, a big public health issue, some would say a crisis, I wouldn’t disagree with that, but it’s a problem that has to be tackled by many different parts of the community, law enforcement has a role but certainly not the only role.”
Sheriff Jones thinks getting the community together like this will help everyone involved in dealing with these problems.
“A summit like this really helps it gets us all in the same room and on the same page and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
One program that’s helped is the drug take back days where people can get ride of old prescriptions to keep them off the streets.