041113br0513R Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant has just been appointed by Illinois Senate President John Cullerton to a new committee charged with finding legislative solutions to the state’s growing teen heroin problem.

Over the past decade, heroin use, overdose and death have rapidly spiked in the Chicago suburbs – especially when being used by teenagers and young adults.

“As a lifelong educator, I feel it is my duty to help inform, alert and dissuade the young adults in our communities from experimenting with substances that are so dangerous and pose such significant risks,” Bertino-Tarrant said.  “No level of curiosity or peer pressure is worth dying.”

Heroin overdose deaths in Will County have doubled between 2008 and 2012.  Many other suburban counties are fighting an equally daunting battle.

Law enforcement officers, drug treatment experts and elected officials have been trying to combat the dramatic rise in heroin abuse by young people by stressing early awareness and compassionate intervention. However, their approaches have yet to make a significant impact on the growing epidemic.

The goal of the Young Adults Heroin Use Task Force is to help coordinate the education and prevention efforts between law enforcement and treatment centers, as well as find legislative solutions to the mounting crisis.

“This task force will help us find better ways to educate families about prevention and help us identify policy-driven solutions to combating this epidemic,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

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