Above / Back in November 2015, dozens of individuals representing both school districts in Naperville as well as North Central College arrived at the Municipal Center to begin touring the city aboard Naperville Trolleys, distributing pamphlets about proper disposal of prescription medication, especially opioids. (PN Photo, Nov. 2015)

UPDATE, Oct. 26, 2017 / October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, but creating awareness to protect all ages from the devastating consequences of opioid misuse and related overdoses must be addressed every day.

With today’s headlines focused on the news that President Donald Trump has declared the nation’s opioid epidemic a national public health emergency, we are mindful this community and too many communities throughout this nation have been aware of the need to address local opioid (heroine) and mental health issues for many years.

Addiction & Mental Health Concerns / 9AM Nov. 9

On behalf of Good Shepherd Church, Kenn Miller recently informed us that the Naperville Police Department, specifically Deputy Chief Jason Arres, is reaching out to the faith community to bring awareness to addiction and mental health that the NPD cannot arrest the way out of these issues.

The Good Shepherd Church Mental Health Awareness Ministry is partnering with the NPD to invite all Naperville churches to attend a presentation from 9-10:30AM Thurs., Nov. 9, 2017, at the Naperville Municipal Center, 400 S. Eagle Street.

The presentation will inform local leaders about Connect For Life and the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), two important resources available in our community.

What’s an opioid?

Opioids are prescription painkillers such as morphine, methadone, Buprenorphine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Opioid drugs sold under brand names include OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Percodan and Demerol, to name a few. Opioids are a gateway to the highly addictive heroin, which is an illegal drug.

Idalynn Wenhold and Steve Chirico met to raise awareness in 2015. Two years later, the community continues to be keenly aware of opioid addiction and overdoses as well as mental health issues. Folks are still asking, “Why do people start using illegal drugs in the first place?”

Work together

During Mayor Steve Chirico’s 2017 State of the City address last March, he said, “Working together to help our youth achieve their dreams is a priority of ours. It all starts with helping kids make healthy choices throughout their life.

“The Council’s vote in December to raise the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 is a reflection of Naperville’s commitment to health and well-being.

“Other organizations are on board with our continued efforts to fight prescription drug abuse. KidsMatter and ParentsMatterToo have long been a leader in this effort.

“Kids can’t succeed when they are using drugs and alcohol. Thank you to IdaLynn Wenhold and her team for investing in the future of Naperville’s children.

“Health is critical, but so is developing our kids’ potential. We need to give our children a head start in imagining what their dreams may be.”

Spread awareness about local initiatives

The goal of this community is to prevent substance and drug abuse, overdoses and addiction. Residents are asked to dispose of leftover prescription opioids no longer needed so they don’t end up in the wrong hands, no matter what age. An RX Drop Off box is located at every one of the 10 fire stations in Naperville as well as inside the Naperville Police Station, located in the Public Safety Center on Aurora Ave.

Established in 2016, “Connect for Life” is a way to involve the community in education, prevention, support and enforcement. The NPD aims to reduce the number of fatal and nonfatal overdoses in Naperville by helping individuals seeking treatment for their addiction. During community outreach presentations, Deputy Chief Jason Arres emphasizes the importance of helping residents learn about the program that already has saved lives. In fact, Connect for Life with new strategies and its team of Sobriety Coaches helps individuals who can come to the Naperville Police Station to get the help they need, without fear of arrest.

Local Resources: Connect for Life  PN Columnist Julie Smith, for the Naperville Police Department

Posted Oct. 27, 2017 / Linden Oaks physician hopes presidential declaration eases stigma of opioid addiction


Don’t be an accidental drug dealer

Original Post, Nov. 14, 2015 / During the City Council meeting on Nov. 3, 2015, Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico declared the Month of November “Don’t be an Accidental Drug Dealer Month.” Initiated by KidsMatter and ParentsMatterToo, the program aims to increase awareness of the critical need for all citizens to monitor, secure and properly dispose of prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

adults-trolley-team

KidsMatter Executive Director Idalynn Wenhold expressed great appreciation to the large group that turned out to promote “Don’t be an accidental drug dealer.” The initiative aims to remind individuals to dispose of prescription medications properly.

Early on Nov. 14,  adult and youth volunteers decked out in bright orange t-shirts met in the lower level meeting room at the Naperville Municipal Center prepared to represent Parentsmatter Too when they boarded four Naperville Trolleys to dispatch across the Naperville community to deliver educational literature.

Representatives from the City of Naperville, School District 203, School District 204, 360 Youth Services and other counseling services were on hand to cheer on the energetic youngsters who arrived to rally support.

With stops at local retailers, libraries, pharmacies, medical, dental and chiropractic offices, information left behind will advise on the dangers of prescription and over the counter drugs left unsecured and improperly disposed of, while alerting residents to dispose of these drugs at Naperville fire stations of the Police Headquarters building on Aurora Avenue. (Note: Never dispose of drugs down the toilet.)

“When four trolleys loaded with youth and a few adults are willing to spend 3-plus hours distributing prescription drug education resources throughout Naperville on a Saturday morning, it’s plain to see that our kids really do matter,” said Wenhold after the ride.  “And they are excellent ambassadors!”

Wenhold went on to recognize the groups of students dressed in orange t-shirts emblazoned with “Don’t be an Accidental Drug Dealer” who visited businesses, doctor offices, pharmacies and more.

“They became increasingly confident in their ability to share this critical message,” Wenhold said. “Four trolleys, each filled with 15 to 20 enthusiastic youth, visited approximately 200 locations – and everyone was very receptive and displayed either our poster or our acrylic holders packed with flyers. Even our youngest kids – from 4 years on up – made a huge impact as they teamed up with our teens.”

Even more, the aim of the awareness campaign is to warn citizens to monitor, secure and properly dispose of all prescription medications so the unused drugs don’t fall into the wrong hands. The goal is to prevent abuse, addiction and a gateway to heroin (opioid) use, organizers said.

fire medical box

Residents will find the RX Drop Off box is located at every one of the 10 fire stations in Naperville as well as inside the Naperville Police Station, located in the Public Safety Center on Aurora Ave.

Fast Facts 

  • 1 in 4 Teens misuse or abuse prescription (opioids) drugs – and that drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death in the United States
  • Research by The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention show that more than 120 people die daily in the United States as a result of drug overdose—and the number of deaths is increasing
  • Medications can be helpful – but also harmful or even fatal when taken in the dangerously high doses needed to “Get High”
  • 3 practical steps: Monitoring, Securing, and Disposing of expired and unused medications – all Naperville Fire Stations and the Police Station have Drug Disposal Boxes

Naperville Fire Stations

  • Fire Station No. 1: 964 E. Chicago Ave.
  • Fire Station No. 2: 601 E. Bailey Rd.
  • Fire Station No. 3: 1803 N. Washington St.
  • Fire Station No. 4: 1971 Brookdale Rd.
  • Fire Station No. 5: 2191 Plainfield-Naperville Rd.
  • Fire Station No. 6: 2808 103rd St.
  • Fire Station No.7: 1380 Aurora Ave.
  • Fire Station No. 8: 1320 Modaff Rd.
  • Fire Station No. 9: 1144 W. Ogden Ave.
  • Fire Station No. 10: 3201 95th St.

Every one of the Naperville fire stations listed above has a sealed drop box located outside of the building in which the public can place their unused/expired prescription or over-the-counter medication.

Note that disposal of needles or other syringes is not allowed through this program. Only prescription and over-the-counter medications will be collected. The drop boxes cannot accept larger sized prescription bottles; in those cases, the public should dispose of just the medication itself in the drop box.

The Police Department drop box located inside the police station at 1350 Aurora Avenue will not accept needles, syringes or liquids.

For more information about Parentsmatter Too, click here.

Meanwhile, ParentsMatterToo is “committed to helping parents build resilient kids who say no to destructive behaviors and yes to endless possibilities.”

This initiative is funded by a grant from the City of Naperville.

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