Heroin Use in McHenry County Skyrockets

Thanks to a Roosevelt University study by The Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy’s
Stephanie Schmitz and Kathleen Kane-Willis, we learn that McHenry County and the rest of suburbia has a serious heroin problem.

Deaths in McHenry County have almost tripled from 6 to 15 from 2006-2009.

Heroin Treatment by Race and Age in 2008

Here’s the report’s summary mentioning our area that a CBS TV story pointed me to.

Suburban counties have experienced significant increases in heroin deaths:

  • Lake County deaths attributable to heroin have increased 130 percent, from 13 in 2000 to 30 in 2009.
  • In just three years, heroin deaths in McHenry County increased by 150 percent, from 6 heroin overdoses in 2006 to 15 in 2009.
  • In Will County, heroin deaths increased by 93 percent in just two years, from 17 in 2008 to 29 in 2009. Nearly all of those who have died have been male, and 83 percent were white. Nearly 60 percent of the deaths occurred among those aged 34 or younger.

The CBS story quoted co-author Kane-Williams as saying,

“Chicago has one of the worst – if not the worst – heroin problems in the nation.”

And, Chicago includes us.

And catch this quote Kate Mahoney, executive director of PEER Services, in the WBBM-TV story:

“It’s cheaper to buy heroin than to go to the movies, to buy a movie ticket. That’s really frightening.”

What to do about the problem?

Here’s a suggestion I haven’t run across before:

“Several states have passed laws that have provided partial or full immunity from prosecution for selected drug offenses in the event that an individual calls 911 to report a drug overdose and request emergency assistance.

“The State of Washington recently passed such a law.

“To protect Illinois residents from an unnecessary overdose death, the state must create a law that provides protection for those who call 911 to report an overdose event.”


Heroin Use in McHenry County Skyrockets — 3 Comments

  1. I don’t think that law would make a difference. I’ve investigated two such deaths this year so far, and they died so quickly that the needle was still in their arm when we got there. The big reason for the increase in O.D. deaths seems to be the introduction of Fentanyl and other heavy duty anasthetics into the mix.

  2. My son was one of the McHenry County 2009 heroin deaths. He was in his 20s when he died.

    For the life of me I can’t understand what young people are thinking today. In the 1970’s when I was growing up everyone I knew was afraid of heroin.

    That’s why it was such a surprise to me when I heard my son was taking heroin. I always thought it was too much.

    Now, that it hit close to home, I realize it’s common in the suburbs.

    It’s scary.

    This sadness about loosing my son will never go away … it’s a tuff road.

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