July 26, 2016

Addressing the Local Heroin Crisis

Heroin abuse is skyrocketing in McHenry County and, as County Board Chairman, one of Jack Franks’ top priorities will be addressing this crisis before too many more lives are lost. The number of fatal heroin overdoses in McHenry County in 2015 nearly doubled from the previous year, according to data from McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski. At least 43 people died from drug overdoses in McHenry County last year.

Jack Franks will:

  • Create partnerships between schools, parents, teachers, law enforcement and community groups in McHenry to develop a coordinated response to the crisis.
  • Work with lawmakers, community advocates and impacted families on a bipartisan basis to demand that Congress FUND the anti-heroin bill – the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act – which would provide resources to local law enforcement agencies to fight heroin. It is outrageous that Congress would pass this needed bill but not allocated the needed funding to implement it and help McHenry County.
  • Work closely with local lawmakers to gain support for common-sense state level anti-heroin measures such as:
  • Increasing regulation and penalties related to heroin analogs, addictive drugs similar to heroin that dealers utilize to skirt the law. (Illinois State Senate Bill 1282)
  • Expanding pilot programs on prescription drug locking devices so that we can find the best ways to keep addictive prescription drugs which lead to heroin abuse out of the hands of children (Illinois House Bill 5949)
  • Tracking opioid prescriptions – as is done in many other states – to fight the flow of prescription drugs which can lead to heroin addiction to young people.
  • Increasing penalties for dealing heroin and opioids within 1000 feet of a school.

Important Links

Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

From Rx to Heroin: Real World Examples

Heroin and other opioids: from understanding to ACTION

Office of National Drug Control Policy: Heroin and Opioids

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Drug Enforcement Agency

The shocking facts on heroin and opioid abuse:

  • The number of fatal heroin overdoses in McHenry County in 2015 nearly doubled from the previous year, according to data from McHenry County Coroner Anne Majewski. At least 43 people died from drug overdoses in McHenry County last year. Hundreds of McHenry County individuals and families are impacted by the heroin epidemic, which is now impacting all age and income groups.
  • The threat posed by heroin in the United States is serious and has dramatically increased since 2007. Heroin is available in larger quantities, used by a larger number of people, and is causing an increasing number of overdose deaths. In 2014, 10,574 Americans died from heroin-related overdoses, more than triple the number in 2010. (Drug Enforcement Agency)
  • The heroin threat is particularly high in the Midwest and in suburban and outlying counties fitting the profile of McHenry County. (Drug Enforcement Agency)
  • Drug poisoning deaths involving heroin increased by 248% between 2010 and 2014. (Drug Enforcement Agency)
  • Mexican drug trafficking operations are increasing their share of the profitable white powder heroin market in the Chicago area (Drug Enforcement Agency)
  • The fall in the price of heroin and the increase in related prescription drug addiction and abuse has spread the heroin epidemic to all groups – young and old, rich or poor. (Drug Enforcement Agency).
  • The heroin user population is increasing at a rate higher than that of any other drug – tripling in ten years. (Drug Enforcement Agency)
  • Deaths involving heroin are rising at a higher rate than other drugs; tripling between 2010 and 2014. (Drug Enforcement Agency)
  • Heroin belongs to the same class of drugs (opioids) that includes prescription pain medications like hydrocodone and oxycodone; four in five heroin users started out by misusing prescription opioid pain medications. (Office of National Drug Control Policy).
  • Heroin abuse is associated with a number of serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV (Partnership for Drug Free Kids)
  • Nearly half of young people who inject heroin surveyed in three recent studies reported abusing prescription opioids before starting to use heroin. Individuals reported taking up heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription opioids. (Partnership for Drug Free Kids)