I sent this out as a media release, from me personally, yesterday and I thought I'd also share it here:
I am the Lake County Coroner. I am also a husband and a parent. I spend some of my free time as the Medical Director of a new substance abuse treatment clinic in Waukegan, by the name of Green Dragonfly.
I agreed to serve as the Medical Director for a number of reasons. Drug overdose is the number one cause of "unnatural" deaths in Lake County. Something needed to be done. The aunt (Mary) of a 25 year old who died of an overdose while on the waiting list for a local treatment program demanded it. The son of an elderly woman who had become dependent (doctor talk for addicted) on pain medications because of inappropriate over-prescribing by her doctor sent me an email in July 2007 asking me where he could take her for treatment. I didn't know. Opiate-related (heroin and prescription drugs) deaths more than tripled 2007 to 2008 and continue high in 2009.
Green Dragonfly opened in October 2008, currently has 92 patients and continues to grow. Mary (mentioned above) put the clinic together and continues as its Office Manager. She asked for my help and I agreed. More than one third of the patients are being treated for addiction to prescription pain medicines or their addiction started with prescription meds. 60% are employed in a variety of jobs while in treatment. The patients live though out Lake County, in McHenry and Kenosha Counties.
Being in treatment helps these people stabilize their lives. People are less likely to break the law. People can be more productive, contributing members of society. Treatment restores them, improves their lives and improves our community.
This substance abuse epidemic must be attacked with prevention, education, and increasing the likelihood that someone who abuses drugs gets treatment by increasing the availability of treatment and eliminating the stigma of seeking help and getting treatment. I want to be able to tell the 6 mothers of children who have had recent overdose deaths that we are doing everything we can to try and prevent a 7th from joining their group.