WESTCHESTER, Ill. – In an effort to address heroin abuse in suburban communities, State Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, met with members of the Illinois Heroin Task Force Tuesday. The bipartisan task force of legislators is working to raise awareness of heroin use and craft legislative solutions.
“Drug addiction is an urgent concern that we must address,” Welch said. “This task force to research solutions for our state’s escalating heroin epidemic is critical in saving lives and supporting the families and friends of those struggling with drug addiction. I appreciate the testimony provided at Tuesday’s hearing to help us get a better grasp on the issue and help us find real solutions.”
Cassandra Wingert, founder and executive director of Wake the Nation, an organization working to raise awareness on substance abuse and provide support for victims of addiction and their loved ones, was invited by Welch to share her experience at Tuesday’s hearing. This issue hits close to home for Wingert, who lost her boyfriend and the father of her son to heroin overdoses.
“My son, Noah, is a bright, vibrant, 5-year-old little boy who is being raised every day without the ability to ever again speak to or see his father, because his father became a causality of this sweeping epidemic, less than two years ago,” Wingert said. “According to Roosevelt University’s Illinois consortium on Drug Policy, based on data from the medical examiner's office, 533 people died from opiate overdose in 2012. Five hundred thirty three families lost a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a grandchild, a friend because of a very deadly disease that we can treat, and we can prevent.”
The next Heroin Task Force is scheduled for Thursday, April 17 at 9 a.m. at the Arlington Heights Village Hall located at 33 South Arlington Heights Road.
Welch additionally encourages anyone who has questions about drugs or substance abuse to contact the Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse at 1-866-213-0548. For more information, please contact Welch’s constituent service office at 708-450-1000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.emanuelchriswelch.com.
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