WBEZ | heroin http://www.wbez.org/tags/heroin Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Sheriff Dart to investigate unlicensed rehab centers http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-dart-investigate-unlicensed-rehab-centers-111938 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/pr follow.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is vowing to investigate whether unlicensed rehab centers in Chicago are breaking any criminal laws.</p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">As WBEZ recently reported</a>, some of the people who end up at these unlicensed residences are heroin addicts who are sent to Chicago from Puerto Rico. &nbsp;They are told to expect well-appointed treatment centers with nurses and pools. Instead they often wind up in rundown residences, and when they don&rsquo;t get the care they need, some of them end up homeless or in jail.</p><p>Dart said he was disgusted to learn of the practice.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/puerto-rico-exports-its-drug-addicts-chicago-111852">Puerto Rico exports its drug addicts to Chicago</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no one in good conscience on the other end, in Puerto Rico, who could say they&rsquo;re doing anything other than dumping hapless people in a foreign country,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;These folks are being misled at best &hellip; and the places they&rsquo;re being steered to, you wouldn&rsquo;t send anybody to in good conscience.&rdquo;</p><p>At least two people mentioned in WBEZ&rsquo;s recent story wound up in Cook County Jail.</p><p>Dart said one of the men, who used the alias Manuel, spent 50 days in the jail, for a cost to taxpayers of more than $7,000.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s expensive because once they find there&rsquo;s no services here, it&rsquo;s not as if they just hop back on the plane, no they&rsquo;re-one way tickets. And it&rsquo;s not as if they can go to plan B, there was no plan B. For many of them there&rsquo;s no family around either, so what&rsquo;s going to happen, they&rsquo;re going to end up in our hospitals, they&rsquo;re going to end up in our jails,&rdquo; Dart said.</p><p>While Dart saved his strongest words for those responsible in Puerto Rico, he also said local agencies need to step in.</p><p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t imagine there are not some criminal violations that are involved if you purport to be something that you&rsquo;re not and you end up harming people as a result of that,&rdquo; Dart said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re pushing our lawyers that we have in our office to see what it is that we can do.&rdquo;</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/554/not-it">This American Life: Not It!</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>He also thinks other local agencies could do more.</p><p>&ldquo;I understand we are under all sorts of cuts throughout the state and the city and so on, but I thought at a minimum we would be having some cursory analysis of the different types of entities that put themselves out as treatment facilities,&rdquo; Dart said.</p><p>But the state and the city both say they aren&rsquo;t responsible.</p><p>Chicago mayoral spokesman Adam Collins said the city&rsquo;s health department looked into the story and determined that it was a state issue, because the state&rsquo;s Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse is responsible for licensing treatment centers.</p><p>But the director of that department, Theodora Binion, said her department doesn&rsquo;t get involved until someone applies for a license.</p><p>&ldquo;The city has jurisdiction over the actual buildings, what can happen in a building,&rdquo; Binion told WBEZ&rsquo;s <a href="https://soundcloud.com/morningshiftwbez/sets/morning-shift-april-23-2015">Morning Shift</a>. &ldquo;Zoning is not our area, nor is the building itself&hellip;. That would come from the city.&rdquo;</p><br /><p>But she said they are &ldquo;hoping to identify&rdquo; the people coming from Puerto Rico so as to help them get proper treatment.</p><p>&ldquo;Even though our jurisdiction &hellip; is fairly limited, we can talk to the people that are there and give them information about how they can get legitimate help,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Some of these residences are in Ald. Scott Waguespack&rsquo;s 32nd Ward.</p><p>Waguespack said such unlicensed, unofficial residences exist in a sort of legal gray area between the city and state. Still, he said the city should be doing more to make sure these places are up to snuff.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s pretty amazing that [the city] would try and push it off on the state,&rdquo; Waguespack said.</p><p>Waguespack said he will look at what is already in the zoning code for ways to &ldquo;rein in these businesses so they can&rsquo;t operate above the law.&rdquo; He also said he would explore ways the city could help the people being sent from Puerto Rico.</p><p>Waguespack also called on state officials to draft a law or policy that allowed Illinois government to regulate the centers.</p><p>While most officials said there is more the city or state could be doing to help, they were especially critical of the government of Puerto Rico for allowing - or even sanctioning - the practice.</p><p>Dart said they were an example &ldquo;of people at their absolute worst.&rdquo;</p><p>In a recent <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/554/not-it?act=1">interview on This American Life</a>, Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla acknowledged his state was giving heroin addicts one-way tickets to Chicago. But he insisted the addicts were getting good treatment here.</p><p>Since it has been revealed that often isn&rsquo;t the case, Padilla thus far has refused to do another &nbsp;interview explaining what he plans to do now.</p><p><em>Adriana Cardona-Maguigad contributed to this story. Patrick Smith is a WBEZ producer and reporter. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/pksmid">@pksmid</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sheriff-dart-investigate-unlicensed-rehab-centers-111938 "I thought it was my job to protect you and to fix you" http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/i-thought-it-was-my-job-protect-you-and-fix-you-111820 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/StoryCorps 150403 John and Jonah Holm bh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Jonah Holm, who prefers to use the gender-neutral pronoun they and their, was isolated and addicted to drugs as a teenager. Jonah&rsquo;s father, John, was a pastor who thought he&rsquo;d done everything possible to fix his child.</p><p>In this week&rsquo;s StoryCorps we hear from Jonah and John Holm as they talk about getting to know and love each other.</p><p>&ldquo;It was clear that you had checked out,&rdquo; John tells Jonah. Jonah spent a lot of time isolated from their family.</p><p>&ldquo;I thought it was my job to protect you and to fix you,&rdquo; John says. He gave Jonah lots of advice. And when it didn&rsquo;t stick, John gave more, and louder, advice.</p><p>&ldquo;It was the only thing I knew to do,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;And that just pushed you away more.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;You were my dad, and you were a good dad, but I didn&rsquo;t think you liked me,&rdquo; Jonah says. Jonah believed the more John tried, the bigger the wedge between them.</p><p>It wasn&rsquo;t until father and child went to family counseling that John realized he couldn&rsquo;t fix Jonah.</p><p>&ldquo;I can only change myself,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Indeed, I needed to change, regardless of what you were going to do.&rdquo;</p><p>That understanding broke open their relationship.</p><p>&ldquo;For you to step out and stop trying to fix me,&rdquo; Jonah says, &ldquo;and then address your stuff, then I could just be a member of the family, instead of be the thing that was wrong with us.&rdquo;</p><p>Jonah told their family they were addicted to heroin and needed to drop out of college to go to rehab.</p><p>Their family was immediately supportive, and Jonah says, &ldquo;At that moment it stopped being important that you liked me, because loving me meant something else.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 03 Apr 2015 10:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/i-thought-it-was-my-job-protect-you-and-fix-you-111820 New vigor in Chicago for the war on drugs http://www.wbez.org/news/new-vigor-chicago-war-drugs-110343 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Heroin Operation map.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Drug enforcement officials are singing an old tune with renewed vigor as they fight the war on drugs.</p><p>&ldquo;Hey, it&rsquo;s another great day for the good guys in Chicago,&rdquo; said Jack Riley, standing at a podium surrounded by federal and local officials Thursday.</p><p>He was announcing the arrest of 27 people in connection with a heroin operation on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>Authorities say the heroin ring operated in a 12-block area just off the Eisenhower expressway near Douglas Park.</p><p>It&rsquo;s a popular location for kids from the western suburbs because they can buy heroin and then hop back on the highway.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/heroin-moves-chicago-suburbs-small-amounts-through-users-109326">How heroin moves to Chicago&#39;s suburbs</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Riley says a new strike force with federal and local authorities sharing information gives him hope that they can make some headway in the decades old war on drugs.</p><p>&ldquo;And to the bad guys out there, hey, we&rsquo;re coming,&rdquo; said Riley. &ldquo;This is a marathon, not a sprint, we&rsquo;re in it for the long haul. We&rsquo;re gonna continue this fight, we&rsquo;re not going to let anybody down and it really makes a difference in the communities when we do things like this.&rdquo;</p><p>Chicago police say they&rsquo;ll continue to do undercover buys in the 12-block area even though many of the dealers in that area were arrested this week.</p><p>Al Wysinger is the first deputy superintendent of the Chicago Police Department and the top guy while Superintendent Garry McCarthy is on medical leave recovering from his heart attack.</p><p>He said they&rsquo;ll now saturate the area with officers and continue to make undercover drug buys, &ldquo;to ensure that,&nbsp; A, this gang doesn&rsquo;t come back and try to take over and B, that a new gang doesn&rsquo;t come in and try to take over and they try to start a turf war over this very same territory.&rdquo;</p><p>U.S. attorney Zach Fardon says no one in this case is charged with violence but he says these arrests are an important tool for reducing violence in Chicago.</p><p>He says shutting down this drug operation is going to improve life for the people living in the neighborhood.</p></p> Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-vigor-chicago-war-drugs-110343 On Chicago's West Side, mothers and children fight addiction side by side http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicagos-west-side-mothers-and-children-fight-addiction-side-side-110281 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Womens%20Treatment%20Center%20by%20Bill%20Healy%201.JPG" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Clinical Director Florence Wright holds a child at The Women’s Treatment Center. Wright oversees day-to-day operations of the center’s daycare, crisis nursery and preschool classroom among other things. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />Even after her drug and alcohol addictions had forced her onto the streets with an infant son in tow, Jennifer still managed to get high and drunk. She sometimes smuggled alcohol into homeless shelters by hiding it in her son&rsquo;s sippy cup.</p><p>There were many similar stories during the 18 years she abused drugs and alcohol. Until, in the pre-dawn light one morning in late July 2011, she checked herself into The Women&rsquo;s Treatment Center, a West Side drug rehabilitation facility that specializes in assisting pregnant and postpartum women dealing with addiction.</p><p>Jennifer can&rsquo;t pinpoint why she chose that day to try to change her life. She had known about the center because, as she says, she used to &ldquo;rip and run this whole block drinking and getting high.&rdquo;</p><p>Looking back, she doesn&#39;t even think that, as she wandered up to the front door, she knew she wanted to get sober.</p><p>&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t know alcohol was the problem,&rdquo; Jennifer said. (WBEZ is using only her first name to protect her privacy.) &ldquo;When I walked&nbsp;into the Women&rsquo;s Treatment Center, I didn&rsquo;t know I stepped into hope.&rdquo;</p><p>That morning, Jennifer joined about 2.5 million people who seek help each year for drug- and alcohol-related addictions.</p><p>The Women&rsquo;s Treatment Center, 140 North Ashland Ave., is one of nine places in Illinois that allow mothers undergoing treatment to live with their children.</p><p>The hope is that, with their children present, mothers will not only have a better chance of breaking their addictions but can also develop parenting and lifestyle skills, strengthening their families.&nbsp;</p><p>Experts say there are many benefits to treating women with their children. Allowing the children to live on-site usually prolongs the mother&rsquo;s time in treatment, said Nicola Conners-Burrow, an associate professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of Arkansas.</p><p>&ldquo;Longer lengths of stay in treatment are quite predictive of better post-treatment outcomes, including reduced substance use, increases in employment, and decreases in symptoms of mental health problems,&rdquo; Conners-Burrow said.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Womens%20Treatment%20Center%20by%20Bill%20Healy%207.JPG" style="height: 266px; width: 400px; float: right;" title="The Women’s Treatment Center, as seen from the El platform at Lake Street, looking south on Ashland Ave. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />When the center opened in 1990, most of the women came in addicted to crack and powder cocaine.&nbsp; Now, they are more likely to abuse heroin.&nbsp;</p><p>When a mother comes to the center, the severity of her addiction determines her treatment path.</p><p>Women are placed in different units based upon their needs for parenting sessions, budgeting classes and job placement programs.</p><p>Children up to five years old are allowed to stay with their mother. Here, these children, many of whom would otherwise be bouncing from shelter to shelter or in other temporary situations, can attend daycare or preschool every day.</p><p>&ldquo;If moms can make a difference in those first three years and really be able to really bond and have that relationship, those kids tend to do really well,&rdquo; said Dr. Lisa Parks-Johnson, director of the center&rsquo;s parenting services.</p><p>Even with their children around, mothers sometimes find it difficult to focus. Relapse rates for drug addictions range from 40 percent to 60 percent of patients, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Womens%20Treatment%20Center%20by%20Bill%20Healy%202.JPG" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="A woman pushes a stroller across the street from The Women’s Treatment Center. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" />In April, another client, Brandi, was at the center for her second attempt to get clean. A mother of three, she came back to the treatment center because of her abuse of heroin and cocaine, she said. Her two oldest children were born addicted to methadone, morphine, and cocaine.</p><p>Brandi lasted only a month at the center in 2012 before returning to her former life. She was in jail on another drug charge and pregnant when the court sent her back, and she&rsquo;s been at the center for about a year.</p><p>&ldquo;A lot of people judge me because I have children,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just not that easy. Now that I&rsquo;ve gotten clean, this child doesn&rsquo;t have to know the old me. I want this more than anything.&rdquo;</p><p>In Conners-Burrow&rsquo;s studies, she has found not disrupting the parent-child relationship helps reduce regression.</p><p>&ldquo;Living apart from one&rsquo;s children has been associated with higher rates of relapse,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;We then see, of course, the benefits to the child of participating in programs like this, with a number of evaluations showing developmental gains for the child and improvements in parenting for the mother.&rdquo;</p><p>With their children around them, women don&rsquo;t have to worry about when the children will be fed next and who is taking care of them&mdash;that remains their job, Parks-Johnson said.</p><p>&ldquo;I know that not everyone is going to make it on my time,&rdquo; said Florence Wright, the center&rsquo;s clinical director.&nbsp; &ldquo;It&rsquo;s about their time. It&rsquo;s about planting a seed and maybe this seed is not the one that is going to make a difference, but if we keep planting and digging deep, then ultimately a flower will bloom.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Bill Healy is an independent producer in Chicago. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/chicagoan" target="_blank">@chicagoan</a>.&nbsp;Richard Steele is a WBEZ reporter and host.</em></p><p><em>This story was supported through Northwestern University&rsquo;s Social Justice News Nexus Fellowship. Will Houp and Caroline Cataldo contributed to this report.</em></p></p> Wed, 04 Jun 2014 16:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicagos-west-side-mothers-and-children-fight-addiction-side-side-110281 Morning Shift: Heroin still a growing epidemic in the suburbs http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-28/morning-shift-heroin-still-growing-epidemic-suburbs <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover Flickr Thomas Marthinsen.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Some City Council members are pushing for a higher minimum wage. We get the latest. We also spotlight a panel that&#39;s tackling the heroin problem in the suburbs. And, Ayana Contreras is back with more reclaimed soul.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-heroin-in-the-suburbs/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-heroin-in-the-suburbs.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-heroin-in-the-suburbs" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Heroin still a growing epidemic in the suburbs" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 28 May 2014 08:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-05-28/morning-shift-heroin-still-growing-epidemic-suburbs FDA approves heroin overdose antidote http://www.wbez.org/news/fda-approves-heroin-overdose-antidote-109977 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ODawarenesst-shirt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Food and Drug Administration has <a href="http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm391465.htm" target="_blank">approved</a> an easy-to-use device that delivers a life-saving antidote for suspected heroin overdoses.</p><p>Naloxone is usually administered by syringe in ambulances or emergency rooms. Kathie Kane-Willis, director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy and Roosevelt University, has long advocated for the antidote to be more readily available.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When your house is burning down, you don&rsquo;t think about why your house is burning down, you don&rsquo;t think about why is the house burning down, you get the people out of the house,&rdquo; Kane-Willis said.</p><p><br />Once turned on, the device, called Evzio, provides verbal instructions. It&rsquo;s similar to how non-medical personnel use defibrillators to help people who collapse from cardiac arrest. Evzio is about the size of a credit card.</p><p>The FDA&rsquo;s recent Naloxone approval means doctors could prescribe it for family members or caregivers to keep on hand, in a pocket or a medicine cabinet.</p><p>The FDA cautioned that the antidote is not a substitute for immediate medical care.</p><p>The drug manufacturer said it&rsquo;s too soon to estimate the antidote&rsquo;s cost.</p><p>Opioid-related drugs--painkillers such as oxycodone and Vicodin or heroin--are proving more popular and lethal. The FDA says 16,000 people die every year due to opioid-related overdoses, and that drug overdose deaths are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, surpassing motor vehicle crashes.</p><p><em>WBEZ and the Chicago Reader explored the pathways through which heroin enters and impacts our community in its joint series, &quot;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/heroin-llc-chicago-is-heroin?in=wbez/sets/heroin-llc">Heroin, LLC</a>.&quot;</em><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/17095202&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her<a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez"> @katieobez</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 19:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/fda-approves-heroin-overdose-antidote-109977 Morning Shift: Strange food to get into the mood on Valentine's Day http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-14/morning-shift-strange-food-get-mood-valentines-day <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover goat soup Flickr pelican.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We celebrate Valentine&#39;s Day with unusual, sexy food and a soundtrack to fit the occasion. </p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-strange-food-to-get-into-the-mood-on/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-strange-food-to-get-into-the-mood-on.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-strange-food-to-get-into-the-mood-on" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Strange food to get into the mood on Valentine's Day" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 08:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-02-14/morning-shift-strange-food-get-mood-valentines-day DuPage County tries to keep drug users out of jail http://www.wbez.org/news/dupage-county-tries-keep-drug-users-out-jail-109407 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LEAD1.jpg" title="Legislators attend a summit on heroin, this time at Elmhurst College (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>Prescription painkillers are often a pathway to heroin. A <a href="http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1308215815.aspx" target="_blank">recent federal report</a> found that four out of five new heroin users had previously used illicit pain pills.</p><p>That&#39;s how Nick Gore got hooked.</p><p>Gore said his childhood in suburban Bartlett -- 35 miles west of Chicago -- was normal. But in his early 20s, Gore developed a boulder-sized kidney stone that required multiple surgeries. And prescriptions to deal with the pain.</p><p>After a couple stints in detox -- and a couple in jail -- Gore took his first trip to rehab where he met a woman, a heroin addict.&nbsp; Soon, they started to date; he&nbsp;took her to a concert downtown and before he knew it, they were on the West Side of Chicago.<br /><br />&quot;We got off at Cicero and before I knew it, we not only bought our first bag of dope but we were snorting it,&rdquo; Gore recalled. &quot;It made me so sick, just throwing up. And I was itchy and disgusted but I got that warm feeling, like I was invincible...that euphoria that they talk about. And I wasn&#39;t addicted the first time I did heroin -- but I was hooked. It just hooked me.&rdquo;</p><p>Soon, the nice hockey star from Bartlett was a twice-convicted felon. Gore stole to feed his habit, to continue chasing that first high. But he said he didn&#39;t feel much of anything -- just sick, cycling in and out of withdrawal -- until his second trip to rehab.</p><p>For the first time in his life, Gore said he started to feel things.</p><p>&quot;I was being honest and it killed me, I was being honest about all the stupid shit I did and it killed me. Brought a lot more chaos into my life than into anyone else&#39;s because I took a butcher knife and decided to cut my Achilles tendon cause I just needed to feel something,&rdquo; Gore said.</p><p>Now two years into his recovery, Gore doesn&#39;t want to see anyone else get caught up in the heroin cycle. He said he&#39;d consider it a win if he can stop one person from trying heroin. So he shares his story at heroin summits in the western suburbs.&nbsp;</p><p>DuPage County Coroner <a href="http://www.dupageco.org/coroner/">Dr. Richard Jorgensen</a> said the fight to stop the spread of heroin use has been a losing battle for much of the community. Forty-three people have died so far this year as a result of heroin, and Jorgensen said there are at least three other suspected cases, pending toxicology reports.&nbsp;</p><p>Jorgensen analyzed the last two years of heroin-related deaths -- the period when the numbers jumped well above the annual average. In 2012, there were 38 deaths, a dozen more than the previous five years. Jorgensen looked for a pattern, an explanation, perhaps a hot spot.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;There&#39;s not one town or one city that predominates the statistics, we don&#39;t have one area or one socioeconomic group that predominates. It&#39;s not the poor kids from here or the rich kids from there it&#39;s really all over DuPage County,&rdquo; Jorgensen said.</div><p>Jorgensen said if heroin users don&#39;t end up in the morgue, they will probably end up across the street with DuPage County State&#39;s Attorney <a href="http://www.dupageco.org/statesattorney/">Bob Berlin</a>. That&#39;s why the two teamed up to spread awareness. They hold forums anywhere they&#39;re welcome: at schools, at local hospitals and community centers.</p><p>But Berlin said that getting people to show up and listen has been a struggle.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re dealing with the &lsquo;not my kid syndrome.&#39; Many parents unfortunately hear about heroin and they take the position &lsquo;Well geeze, it&#39;s not my kid, I don&#39;t have to worry about this.&#39; And we&#39;re trying to tell them it may not be your kid today but that doesn&#39;t mean it that it might not happen tomorrow,&rdquo; Berlin said.</p><p>Berlin said he isn&#39;t interested in sending addicts to jail.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ODawarenesst-shirt.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Hundreds of people turned out for this Overdose Awareness rally in August. (WBEZ/Bill Healy)" /></div><p>&quot;Someone who&#39;s an addict, they&#39;re stealing money to support their habit, putting them in prison for a year or two years where they&#39;ll serve half the time and get out doesn&#39;t really solve the problem because they continue to do the same things if you don&#39;t treat the drug addiction,&rdquo; Berlin said.</p><p>Non-violent defendants are still prosecuted for a felony but they&#39;re not incarcerated. They get counseling and regular drug tests. And if they complete the program, they&#39;re less likely to reappear in the criminal justice system. <a href="http://www.dupageco.org/courts/drug_court/2215/">DuPage County&#39;s drug court</a> is one of the most successful programs of its kind in the area. The typical rate of recidivism for felons is about 30 percent within three years. For drug court grads, it&#39;s eight percent.</p><p>But when it comes to drug dealers in DuPage County, the state&#39;s attorney takes a hardline approach. There is no drug court and no breaks.</p><p>&quot;We are aggressively prosecuting those people that peddle the poison in our community,&rdquo; Berlin said.</p><p>To Berlin, there is a clear, black-and-white difference between a user and a seller; but to Roosevelt University drug policy researcher <a href="http://www.roosevelt.edu/CAS/CentersAndInstitutes/IMA/Leadership.aspx">Kathie Kane-Willis</a> it&#39;s gray and problematic.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/KKW.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Kathie Kane-Willis speaks at an Overdose Awareness Rally in August at Roosevelt University's Schaumburg campus." /></div><p>Oftentimes, she said, both are heroin dependent and both will engage in acquisitive crimes that enable them to buy drugs. And to avoid withdrawal. Kane-Willis hasn&#39;t just researched this issue, she lived it as a former heroin user.</p><p>&quot;There were many times that I was delivering drugs because I was the one who had the time to cop drugs and so I would buy them and people would give me money, and I would give them the drugs; that&#39;s distribution, that&#39;s a sales offense. So was I a drug seller when I did that or was I a drug user or was I both? I was drug dependent,&quot; Kane-Willis said.</p><p>She said law enforcement is sending dependents mixed messages. On the one hand, they&#39;ll say it&#39;s not a problem that society can arrest its way out of. On the other hand, anyone caught selling drugs can expect a stiff penalty and some jail time.</p><p>The potential punishment can be especially harsh for anyone found to have supplied a fatal dose of heroin. In DuPage County, the charge is drug-induced homicide, a Class-X felony that carries up to 30 years in prison.</p><p>DuPage County has three-such cases pending. Nineteen-year-old Nolan McMahon was charged this past summer in the death of a 15-year-old Bartlett High School student. McMahon is accused of delivering the heroin that the other teen ingested before overdosing in his parents&#39; home.</p><p>Dealers bear responsibility in these deaths, according to Berlin.</p><p>&quot;The drug dealers know how dangerous these drugs are and how strong they are&hellip;and they need to be held accountable for what happens when people use these drugs and die, it&#39;s that simple. And that&#39;s the risk that they take,&quot; Berlin said.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/pie%20heroin.PNG" style="height: 256px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="" /></p><p>But Kane-Willis said there&#39;s a greater and deadlier risk associated with the charge.</p><p>&quot;I think every drug-induced homicide charge that is made sends a ripple through the using community to not call 911 and might result in somebody else&#39;s death,&rdquo; Kane-Willis said.</p><p><a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=1701&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97">Illinois&#39;s Good Samaritan Law</a> protects anyone from prosecution for possession if that person has fewer than three grams of heroin and, in good faith, calls 911 to save the life of someone who has overdosed.</p><p>If the overdose victim cannot be revived, the law does not provide protection from a drug-induced homicide charge.</p><p>Kane-Willis said the general perception of the relationship between a user and a seller is misunderstood.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not what people think; there&#39;s not someone lurking around the corner trying to sell you heroin...that&#39;s not what heroin use and purchasing looks like,&rdquo; she said. &quot;Generally, people are seeking it out, they&#39;re drug dependent; and to provide drugs to someone who is in withdrawal, I&#39;ll say this from my own personal point of view, is not an evil thing to do, it&#39;s an act of mercy. And so I think some of these cases, these are merciful people who are being charged with murder, and that&#39;s just wrong.&rdquo;</p><p>Kane-Willis said it&#39;s important to understand that the victim and the perpetrator are very much the same kind of people.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="https://mapsengine.google.com/map/edit?mid=z5OJBBaoBP4k.kUgUKWvKtdDs" name="dupagechart" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202013-12-19%20at%205.51.58%20AM.png" style="height: 327px; width: 620px;" title="Map of 2013 heroin deaths by community in DuPage County. Click to view larger map." /></a></div><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2012.PNG" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2013%20dupage.PNG" title="" /></div></div><p><em>Katie O&#39;Brien is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/katieobez">@katieobez</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 19 Dec 2013 11:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/dupage-county-tries-keep-drug-users-out-jail-109407 Chicago is hub for heroin in the Midwest http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-hub-heroin-midwest-109373 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rw1.jpg" title="Federal prosecutors say Chicagoans were dealing heroin on streets like this in Waterloo, Iowa. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /></div></div></div><p>There have been times in her life when Connie Johnson was homeless along with her six children. &ldquo;Going to relatives&rsquo; house, day in day out, they get tired of you,&rdquo; Johnson says in a recent interview. &nbsp;We&rsquo;re in the kitchen of her second floor apartment on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side. &ldquo;Everyone extend their hand but when you come in, it&rsquo;s, the story changes, welcome ran out kind of fast, you know?&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Then about eight years ago, she heard from a niece living in Waterloo, Iowa, a 5-hour drive from Chicago. &ldquo;She was saying that you can get work there, so, we all moved down there and everybody that went got work: my daughter, my sons, my husband.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>It was a hopeful start and things were good there, for a while anyway.&nbsp;</p><p>Johnson walks from the kitchen past the bathroom to the dining room (her apartment is a typical layout for a Chicago 2-flat.) Her bedroom is just off the dining room and on the windowsill she keeps a plaque. It was awarded to her husband Lusta and is a reminder of those good times in Iowa.</p><p>&ldquo;This is the plaque from Tyson that Lusta had got and it says &lsquo;for five years service,&rsquo; but he actually worked there about seven years,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Tyson is Tyson Foods, which makes things like Asian chicken thighs and honey chicken tenders. That&rsquo;s where her husband Lusta found work in Iowa. Johnson keeps the plaque in plastic. The Tyson logo and the brass plate with her husband&rsquo;s name are pristine. Johnson tells me it &ldquo;shows that he was doing something, that he was headed to doing the right thing, you know?&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>But things went sideways. Her husband is addicted to heroin, has been since the late 70s. She has also struggled with addiction, as have other members of the family. In Iowa, in addition to working new jobs at Tyson, they bought and sold heroin. Now Johnson&rsquo;s son is doing 15 years federal time. Her sister-in-law, 15 years federal time. Her nephew is doing life and her husband Lusta is facing trial and likely a similar fate.</p><p><strong>The size of a pencil eraser</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Lusta Johnson distributed heroin,&rdquo; says federal prosecutor Lisa Williams in an interview at the new glass-and-stone federal courthouse in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Williams has indicted much of the Johnson family and knows their stories well.</p><p>&ldquo;They all long before they came to Waterloo had heroin habits. &nbsp;And so when they got to Waterloo the heroin habit didn&rsquo;t go away just by crossing the state line and so they found themselves back into distributing heroin, obtaining it in Chicago and using it as well,&rdquo; Williams says.&nbsp;</p><p>In the Johnson case Williams says they would bring back heroin in amounts of 10, 15, sometimes 20 or 30 grams. To get an idea of what that looks like, Williams says one gram of heroin is about the size of a pencil eraser. &ldquo;And so you would take 30 of those eraser tops and that would be 30 grams. It would fit in your palm about so it&rsquo;s not a huge quantity but it&rsquo;s still a significant quantity,&rdquo; said Williams.</p><p>It&rsquo;s also profitable. Williams says a gram goes for about $100 in Chicago; a four- or five-hour drive to Iowa doubles its value. So 30 grams would be $3,000 in Chicago and $6,000 in Iowa. But there&rsquo;s more.</p><p>Williams says you can cut the heroin and mix it with another substance like sleeping pills. &ldquo;So not only do you double your money, but you&rsquo;re tripling your quantity and so that&rsquo;s how you can really start to make a profit on it.&rdquo;</p><p>Williams says that $3,000 of heroin in Chicago can be worth $12,000 or $18,000 in Iowa.</p><p>In addition to the Johnson case, Williams is prosecuting other Chicagoans who moved out to Iowa and sold heroin, 36 cases in all right now. And there are others.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450-iowa-3.jpg" style="float: left; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="The apartment complex where prosecutors say Chicagoans had moved to and were dealing heroin out of. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450-iowa-2.jpg" style="float: left; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="The Sherwood Court apartment complex in Waterloo, Iowa dead ends into a cemetery, making surveillance difficult, according to a DEA investigator’s Court testimony. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /></div></div></div><p><strong>Heroin sales not so blatant in Iowa</strong></p><p>Sergeant Dave Dostal of the Cedar Rapids police department stands on the curb in an older neighborhood in Cedar Rapids close to the central part of the city. The houses look like the houses in many other Midwestern towns, foursquare homes that could be beautiful but many of them are run down. Dostal points to a house with an appliance sitting in the front yard and says two guys from Chicago moved there and started selling heroin, and cars would be driving up all day. &ldquo;Classic drug trafficking signs, you know, short term traffic,&rdquo; says Dostal.</p><p>Cedar Rapids is not like Chicago where guys are standing on the corners. Here, you need to know someone. Dostal says police made some buys by calling the dealers on cell phones and then meeting them, sometimes at a Laundromat just across the street.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;d set up surveillance and photograph as the individuals would come out of this house, walk over, transaction would be completed and then that individual would walk back to this place,&rdquo; Dostal says as he points between the house and the Laundromat.</p><p>But Dostal didn&rsquo;t arrest them for making small individual sales. He was putting together a larger case. &ldquo;What happens is, if they&rsquo;re selling out of one specific house and your surveillance is done long enough and you get probable cause for a search warrant, you&rsquo;re going to get them and all their product and maybe money,&rdquo; he says. That means more serious charges and heavier time.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>Dostal says the surveillance of this house was part of a case that led to federal charges for 11 more people bringing heroin from Chicago.</p><p><strong>Cedar Rapids the end of the line</strong></p><p>Dostal says Cedar Rapids isn&rsquo;t a drug hub like Chicago. No one&rsquo;s moving heroin through Cedar Rapids, it&rsquo;s the end of the line.&nbsp;According to the DEA in Cedar Rapids, there have been 200 heroin overdoses in Northeastern Iowa since 2007, and 50 of those overdoses resulted in death.&nbsp;One of those people was Jon Jelinek&rsquo;s 22-year-old son Sam.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/450-iowa-1.jpg" style="float: right; height: 201px; width: 300px;" title="Jon Jelinek standing in front of the bedroom where he found his son dead of a heroin overdose. (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" /></div></div><p>Jelinek learned about his son&rsquo;s heroin addiction when Sam was arrested once. Jelinek helped him get clean and stuck with him through a relapse and an overdose. And they talked. Sam told him his heroin was being brought into Cedar Rapids by two cousins from Chicago.</p><p>On March 22 of this year Sam didn&rsquo;t show up for work. He worked at the restaurant Jelinek owns and Jelinek called him. &ldquo;Didn&rsquo;t get any call back. &nbsp;Had lunch and then about 1:30 felt something in my stomach saying something ain&rsquo;t right so I jumped in my truck, and I knew all the way out here, I knew he had overdosed,&rdquo; Jelinek says.</p><p>Sam&rsquo;s room was locked so Jelinek kicked in the door. &ldquo;I found him kneeling on his knees, with his head in his pillow, like he was trying to get up out of bed, the needle was still in between his fingers,&rdquo; said Jelinek.&nbsp;</p><p>Jelinek walks through the foyer of the house where his son died, down a couple steps to the family room. The door to Sam&rsquo;s bedroom is in the corner. He goes to the door and pushes it open. &ldquo;This is the first time I&rsquo;ve been back in here since.&rdquo;</p><p>Jelinek looks down and sees a belt on the floor and picks it up. &ldquo;This is his tourniquet. They put it just like you see on T.V. &nbsp;Put it around, bite it and pull it, so they get that vein sticking out.&rdquo; He pauses, silent. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just sad that it come to that,&rdquo;&nbsp;he finally says.</p><p>Jelinek blames the dealers. He says his son was trying to get clean, but because dealing in Cedar Rapids is all done by cell phone the dealers had Sam&rsquo;s number and they texted him that they had a new shipment in. It must have been too much to resist.</p><p><strong>Dealers often users and victims too</strong></p><p>Back on the West Side of Chicago, in her second floor apartment, Connie Johnson weeps in her kitchen. She weeps because much of her family is going to be in federal prison for many years for dealing heroin. But she also weeps because of all the harm heroin has done to her and her husband; there have been decades of addiction, poverty and homelessness. She says heroin is an ugly thing. And I ask her, if the authorities don&rsquo;t lock up the people dealing, people like her son and husband, what should they do to stop this ugly drug that kills people and ruins lives?</p><p>Through tears she says she wishes she knew the answer.</p><p><em>The Chicago Reader&rsquo;s Mick Dumke contributed reporting for this story.</em></p></p> Mon, 16 Dec 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-hub-heroin-midwest-109373 If you don't have money or insurance, you may have to wait for drug treatment http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/if-you-dont-have-money-or-insurance-you-may-have-wait-drug-treatment-109361 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Caraline%20Scally-height350.jpg" style="float: right;" title="Caraline Scally" /></div><p>People who know Caraline Scally well say that when sober, she&rsquo;s curious, smart and generous. But when she&rsquo;s strung out on heroin, Caraline says she&rsquo;s a monster who cares only about herself &ndash; and her drugs. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t care that you&rsquo;re crying and telling me that you want me to be alive, and you don&rsquo;t want me to die. I just don&rsquo;t care,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>As part of our Heroin, LLC series with the Chicago Reader, we&rsquo;ve been tracking how heroin is moved from Mexico to Chicago, where it&rsquo;s a big part of the economy on the city&rsquo;s West Side. &nbsp;And we&rsquo;ve been talking with people whose lives are affected by the drug trade, including people trying to recover from addiction. That&rsquo;s how we got to talking with Caraline Scally.</p><p><strong>Quiet childhood</strong></p><p>Caraline grew up on a quiet cul de sac in west suburban Downer&rsquo;s Grove. Very few cars came back there and the kids could play in the street. It was the kind of place you could cut through a neighbor&rsquo;s yard to get somewhere, and nobody minded. She was a kid who loved reading and writing, and after school played park district soccer, which her father coached.</p><p>By middle school she still enjoyed many of her classes, but also got drunk a few times and was even grounded one entire summer for smoking pot.</p><p>The real trouble though, started in the summer after freshman year. She had just turned 16 when a new kid at the school asked if she and a friend would like to snort some heroin. It never occurred to her that she could become addicted.</p><p>&ldquo;I just remember the euphoric feeling it gave me as soon as it went into my nose,&rdquo; Caraline says. &ldquo;I was absolutely in love with it.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>A new kind of high</strong></p><p>Snorting graduated to shooting up and that summer she and her new acquaintance &ndash; she never really considered him a friend &ndash; started heading to the West Side of Chicago to buy heroin. She remembers the first time they drove there, this guy was giving her instructions, telling her they&rsquo;d go to a certain street, get the dope quickly, and then she was to stash it &ldquo;in her crotch&rdquo; just in case they got pulled over by the police. The whole episode felt kind of exciting and risky.</p><p>Looking back at those trips now, as a 21-year old, she thinks back then she loved the ritual of it. &ldquo;It was a high in itself, just the process of getting it,&rdquo; Caraline says.</p><p>Her acquaintance was charging her $25 for a bag of heroin that cost him $10. She didn&rsquo;t know she was getting ripped off, but did know she didn&rsquo;t have that kind of cash. Caraline started stealing from her parents &ndash; and shoplifting clothing and jewelry from the &ldquo;junior&ldquo; section of an upscale store.</p><p>She got caught though, and even before she had to step before a judge, her parents immediately whipped into action. &ldquo;I mean my parents got me into an intensive outpatient program like within days of my arrest,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>Caraline has a dual diagnosis for both addiction and depression. Since first entering treatment she&rsquo;s experienced long stretches of sobriety, one time for &nbsp;11 months, and a year and a half another time. &nbsp;But she&rsquo;s also been in and out of both intensive outpatient and residential treatment &ndash; and the hospital a few times.</p><p>About nine months ago she was living in a halfway house, working full-time and doing well. But she got complacent, she tells me, and just left out of there one night to get high with a friend. He overdosed that night and she drove him to the hospital when other friends didn&rsquo;t want to. The friend survived, but still -- it was the worst night of her life. She realized she just couldn&rsquo;t live like that anymore. So she checked herself into a residential program out in California that uses AA&rsquo;s 12-step model and has group therapy, art therapy, exercise, journaling and Bible study.</p><p>Caraline plans to stay in California at least a year, away from all the temptations that Chicago presents. She feels she&rsquo;s doing really well but says she has a lot of amends to make. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve done a lot of damage to my family and I think they know &ndash; because I&rsquo;ve been through it so much &ndash; that when I&rsquo;m in the grip of that, it&rsquo;s not me. And it&rsquo;s not the person I want to be.&rdquo;</p><p>She&rsquo;s positive, she tells me, that if she goes back to heroin -- she will die. So she&rsquo;s working hard to make this treatment work. But all that treatment doesn&rsquo;t come cheap.</p><p><strong>The high cost of private treatment</strong></p><p>&ldquo;Where she is now is out of pocket for us about six thousand a month,&rdquo; Joe Scally tells me. Joe is Caraline&rsquo;s father. &ldquo;The residential treatment she was in, was $700 a day.. .for six weeks,&rdquo; Joe says. &ldquo;Most of that was covered by insurance , but again, the insurance company said &lsquo;we&rsquo;ll cover it.&rsquo; Now we just found out in the last week, &lsquo;oh wait a minute, we&rsquo;re not going to cover 15 thousand of this.&rsquo; So we&rsquo;re fighting that.&rdquo;</p><p>Scally is a lawyer at the Child and Family Law Center in Highland Park. I&rsquo;m sitting here with both him and fellow attorney, Micki Moran, who founded the practice. Moran also has a son who&rsquo;s used heroin and tells me, &ldquo;In our office everyone knows someone who died from a heroin overdose in their late teens, early twenties. And the parents find them in the morning, dead in the bed. And I wish there was a way to sugar-coat that, but there isn&rsquo;t.&rdquo;</p><p>Scally has pulled a picture of Caraline out of his wallet and I see a beautiful girl riding a horse, looking strong and healthy. This was taken shortly after she got to her program in California. &ldquo;She looks really happy there,&rdquo; Scally says, his voice getting thick with emotion. &ldquo;And Micki will tell you. When they&rsquo;re using, it&rsquo;s almost like they&rsquo;ve lost their souls. There&rsquo;s nothing there.&rdquo;</p><p>Out in the suburbs, I find out, people can have a skewed view of what&rsquo;s causing the explosion of suburban kids using heroin. Moran takes pains to explain that this isn&rsquo;t her view. But what she often hears from parents is that &ldquo;the kid from Highland Park who drives down to the West Side and buys heroin, is the victim in some ways here.&rdquo; She doesn&rsquo;t agree with that, Moran &nbsp;says. But she hears people say that the &ldquo;the drug dealer who&rsquo;s standing on the corner selling it is the bad guy.&rdquo;</p><p>I ask Moran who actually, really thinks that. &ldquo;Almost everybody in the suburbs,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;You know people have a completely different view of people who are dealing, as opposed to people who are buying.&rdquo;</p><p>Suburban parents can be in denial about their own childrens&rsquo; culpability, both Scally and Moran tell me. They may think their kids are being lured by outside influences like rap music &ldquo;which makes that whole drug-dealing culture seem glamorous and attractive. These are cocktail conversations,&rdquo; Moran says.</p><p><strong>But what about families without means?</strong></p><p>Meanwhile, the prices Joe Scally and other parents are paying for private treatment get me wondering how people with a lower income could afford to access treatment for drug use.</p><p>To understand that, first I need a big picture view of the Chicago metro area&rsquo;s heroin problem. So I head to the office of Kathie Kane-Willis, director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Opiate%20deaths-400.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(WBEZ/Patrick Smith)" /></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p>She&rsquo;s sitting at her computer, crunching numbers for WBEZ so we can better understand who uses heroin, who gets treatment&hellip; and who dies.</p><p>Turns out, in 2012 whites in Cook County were way more likely to die from opiates, which includes heroin, &nbsp;than African-Americans.</p><p>For people ages 31 to 35, for example, eight African Americans died from opiates. In that same age group, 72 whites died. For people ages 21 to 25, the same pattern held. Three deaths of African-Americans in Cook County in 2012 and 34 deaths of whites. &nbsp;</p><p>Kane-Willis says there&rsquo;s no direct way to quantify the population of heroin users. So she looks at various measures, including hospital discharge data, emergency department mentions -- and right this minute she&rsquo;s on her computer checking admissions to government funded treatment in Illinois.</p><p>&ldquo;When we look at African Americans versus whites entering treatment in 2011,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;and we look at age breakdowns say under age 30 -- we can see that only 198 African Americans entered treatment who were under age 30 in 2011, compared to 3,689 whites entering treatment. &ldquo;</p><p>In fact, Kane-Willis says African American admissions to publicly financed treatment have dropped by more than a third in just three years. Searching for a cause, she speculates that some treatment centers may have closed or merged because of tardy payments from the state. And various government funding cuts could also be a factor.</p><p>But still, very few younger blacks enter treatment at all.</p><p>&ldquo;I do think that there&rsquo;s fewer young African-Americans who are using heroin,&rdquo; Kane-Willis tells me. Other drugs, yes. But heroin, not so much.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Generation%20gap-650_0.jpg" title="(WBEZ/Patrick Smith)" /></div></div><p>About 20,000 people with substance abuse problems pass through the doors of Haymarket Center each year. Because many of these clients are poor, about three-quarters of them get their tabs picked up by the government. Sometimes it&rsquo;s the children of those who were formerly well-to-do who end up at this center. Just about every treatment director I&rsquo;ve talked to has a story about someone who&rsquo;s had to refinance the mortgage of their home in order to pay for their child&rsquo;s drug treatment.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve had patients here who have spent $200,000 on private treatment only to have relapsed,&rdquo; Dr. Dan Lustig tells me. He&rsquo;s head of clinical services at Haymarket. &nbsp;&ldquo;And the parents become very frustrated. They get discouraged. But the reality is they don&rsquo;t get the education that on average it takes six to seven different treatment attempts, different episodes of care before a person reaches any period of sustained recovery.&ldquo;</p><p>Lustig says public treatment is typically every bit as effective as what you&rsquo;ll find at private, for-profit centers. In fact several experts tell me that there&rsquo;s often a higher standard at public treatment facilities, because they tend to use more evidence-based practices.</p><p>But there&rsquo;s one big difference between private and publicly financed treatment, Lustig tells me. &ldquo;What we have going on here is, and Haymarket Center is not unique to this, are waiting lists. For my outpatient program right now we&rsquo;re looking at scheduling people this second week in January. &ldquo;</p><p>And in the life of a heroin addict, can that be a big deal, I ask? &ldquo;That can be the difference between life and death,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;That is the key thing that our policymakers don&rsquo;t get -- is the importance of getting people access to treatment when that person needs it.&rdquo;</p><p>It&rsquo;s not hard to find someone who&rsquo;s been on a waiting list for publicly financed treatment if you visit the Chicago Recovery Alliance&rsquo;s needle exchange program. On the day after Thanksgiving I went to the van parked at the corner of Roosevelt and Whipple in the Lawndale neighborhood.</p><p>I&rsquo;d only been there a few minutes when an amiable man in his mid-thirties walked in the door looking for some free supplies like needles, cookers, and an anti-overdose kit.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LYDELL-450.jpg" style="float: left;" title="Lydell Harton (WBEZ/Linda Paul)" /></div></div><p>Lydell Harton was released from prison just a few weeks ago and he told me how he landed there. &ldquo;My last three prison sentences have been a result of heroin,&rdquo; he says. &nbsp;&ldquo;My heroin addiction, me going out and trying to get money, going into stores and doing, you know, things out of character that I wouldn&rsquo;t normally do to get money to support my habit.&rdquo;</p><p>And what were his offenses? &ldquo;Retail theft,&rdquo; he says. &nbsp;&ldquo;When it wasn&rsquo;t retail theft it was trying to hustle the spots, to sell drugs to support my habit and so forth.&rdquo;</p><p>Here&rsquo;s the thing. Before committing two of the last three crimes that landed him in prison, Harton says he tried to enroll in publicly funded methadone treatment. But both times he was told that the waiting list was for about six months. And for a heroin addict, six months is an eternity.</p><p>&ldquo;It could actually lead to death,&rdquo; Harton says. &ldquo;You know it takes money to support a drug habit, and as far as&hellip;in my situation I was looking for a change. &nbsp;I was trying to better myself to get off the heroin.&rdquo;</p><p>But he didn&rsquo;t get treatment fast enough and ended up in prison.</p><p>I tell Harton&rsquo;s story to Roosevelt University&rsquo;s Kathie Kane-Willis and ask if she thinks the negative impact of treatment waiting lists are overplayed. Her answer&rsquo;s a little on the sarcastic side: &ldquo;Well, if we don&rsquo;t care about people contracting HIV, Hepatitis C &nbsp;-- and possibly dying,&rdquo; she says &ldquo;then there&rsquo;s really no problem with that.&rdquo;</p><p>Besides her public health concerns, Kane-Willis has personal reasons to feel strongly about this. Earlier in her life, she was a heroin user living in California. She wanted to get on Methadone treatment but &ldquo;there was a waiting list and I got arrested for shoplifting,&rdquo; she tells me. While she was riding in the police car the police officer told her that there was no waiting list for treatment, that anybody could just walk in off the street and get Methadone treatment. But she knew better.</p><p>Lustig of &nbsp;Chicago&rsquo;s Haymarket Center tells me there&rsquo;s a correlation between drug addiction, arrests and imprisonment. Because when drug addicts are desperate for money, they will steal. &ldquo;When you don&rsquo;t have the beds available,&rdquo; Lustig says, &ldquo;this is the natural kind of path that people take. But we have to be aware that you&rsquo;re not going to solve the drug problem in the State of Illinois --or anywhere else-- by incarcerating these individuals.&rdquo;</p><p>When you look at the enormous amount of funding spent on corrections and prisons, Lustig thinks that money would be better spent on expanding the slots in community-based organizations for people to get treatment on demand.</p><p>Some people think we are headed closer to treatment on demand. Come January, we&rsquo;ll start seeing the impact of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Optimists in the field say once we&rsquo;re past the glitches, people who sign up will have health insurance &ndash; or access to expanded Medicaid &ndash; and that should dramatically increase access to treatment for lower income people.</p><p>But Lustig sees a cloud over that. &ldquo;This field is not ready for the Affordable Care Act,&rdquo; he tells me. &nbsp;&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not ready because there&rsquo;s not the volume of beds or slots needed so that when people need, or access treatment -- it is available. &ldquo; &nbsp;</p><p>The difference of opinion centers around whether treatment centers will be able to quickly ramp up and add capacity. Some treatment directors tell WBEZ there&rsquo;ll be enough new clients to pay for expansion. Others say the reimbursement rates from government programs are so low, there&rsquo;ll be no way to meet the new demand any time soon.</p><p><em>Patrick Smith contributed reporting for this story.&nbsp;</em></p></p> Thu, 12 Dec 2013 18:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice/if-you-dont-have-money-or-insurance-you-may-have-wait-drug-treatment-109361