Naperville Community Comes Together to Discuss Problems with Drug Abuse

By Wallace, Diana | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 30, 2003 | Go to article overview

Naperville Community Comes Together to Discuss Problems with Drug Abuse


Wallace, Diana, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Diana Wallace Daily Herald Staff Writer

Richard Ballinger takes time outside of work to talk about drug abuse among young people because he'd rather not run into them at work.

Ballinger runs the DuPage County morgue. He's seen over and over what can happen to addicts who don't recover. He's seen the aftermath of fatal substances young people put into their bodies: not just recreational drugs, but anti-freeze, aerosols and poisons.

"This is the only way you want to see me," the coroner said Wednesday evening, "when I have a chance to talk to somebody (who's) alive."

Ballinger made his comments during a forum on teen substance abuse at Benedictine University in Lisle Wednesday sponsored by Healthy DuPage and the Daily Herald.

The panel of substance-abuse professionals - and an audience of recovering addicts, moms and dads of addicts, educators, counselors and law enforcement officials - offered a revealing and sobering look at what panelist Felipe Armas of Metropolitan Family Services called "a monster."

The group discussed the early signs of drug use among teens - the change in appearance, friends, grades, behavior, even missing spoons.

The group talked about why kids using Ecstasy or other club drugs use pacifiers and menthol rubs.

Naperville Police Lt. David Hilderbrand discussed the department's crackdown on illegal teen drinking parties and how his agency has learned new ways of breaking up such parties so kids don't run to their cars and drive away drunk.

Theresa Blasucci, the co-founder of Help End Addiction with Love, a support group for families of addicts, described how her family filed for bankruptcy and used her addict son's college fund to pay for his drug treatment.

Mark Henry of the Illinois State Police and DuPage County's special drug task force, talked of kids from DuPage County driving to the West Side of Chicago to pick up heroin. …

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