Health Experts, Officials to Hold Forum on Suburban Heroin Epidemic

Experts including DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin will share their knowledge on the growing use of heroin in the suburbs at a Feb. 4 forum in nearby Wheaton.

The Wheaton Police Department will host a forum on the growing epidemic of heroin use in the suburbs Monday, Feb. 4 in Wheaton, to connect the community with local law enforcement, the DuPage County State's Attorney's Office and experts in the field.

Read More on Patch: "Heroin: Naperville's Drug Reality" 

In Naperville, the reality of the epidemic was chronicled in the student-produced documentary, "Neuqua on Drugs." The eye-opening documentary tells the uncut story of Naperville’s youth drug culture. 

"Neuqua on Drugs" recently won a Dreamland International Film Festival award and was released on DVD last fall. 


DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin, Claudia Evenson, director of outreach services for Rosecrance Health Network, John Roberts, Co-founder of the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization (HERO), and Kathleen Burke, CEO Robert Crown Center for Health Education will attend the forum, to share their knowledge of heroin use. 

Similar forums have taken place in Naperville, most recently at North Central College last summer.

Berlin said at an event in Hinsdale in November that law enforcement's battle against heroin is difficult because of the drug's accessibility. He urged parents to focus on their child's safety over their privacy. 

Evenson coordinates various community activities such as educational programming in schools and early intervention classes. Evenson holds a certificate in Addiction Studies from Felician College and is a Certified Supervisor Alcohol Drug Counselor with more than 27 years of experience.

Roberts is a former Captain of the Chicago Police Department who retired after more than 30 years of service. He holds several advanced degrees including a doctoral degree from Loyola University. He is also a parent who tragically lost his son to heroin addiction.

He and another dad who lost a son to heroin started the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization (HERO), which through support programs, aims to help the families of those who have lost a child to heroin, according to Hinsdale Patch.

Burke joined the Robert Crown Center for Health Education in July 2005. She has introduced an intensive collaborative effort to create a new model of health education that is relevant, sustainable and effective for both children and their influencers. Member of task force for NCPIE, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and representatives from 15 nationally recognized prevention, health professional and child advocacy organizations.

The forum will be 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4 at the Wheaton Community Center, 1777 Blanchard St., Wheaton.


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