Forum was held Feb 24 at Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa
Lake County Board members Linda Pedersen (District 1) and Tom Weber (District 3), in participation with States Attorney Mike Nerheim, presented a panel discussion on Heroin and Opioid Awareness. The two hour forum included panel members Dr. Adam Rubinstein, Bruce Johnson, Lake Villa Police Chief Craig Somerville, Steve Lunardi Jr., Kevin Kaminski, and Terri Bartlett.
Lake County State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim who is the Co-founder of the Lake County Opioid Initiative (LCOI) moderated the forum. The panel members spoke for about and hour and then answered questions submitted by the audience for an additional 45 minutes before making their closing remarks.
The LCOI was co-founded by State’s Attorney Mike Nerheim, Chelsea Laliberte who is Executive Director of Live4Lali, Bruce Johnson who is Chief Executive Officer of NICASA Behavioral Health Services, Round Lake Park Police Chief George Filenko who is also the Commander of the Lake County Major Crimes Taskforce, Kathleen Kane-Willis who is Director of the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy at Roosevelt University, and Stephanie Schmitz-Bechteler.
The LCOI is comprised of members from law enforcement, first responders, treatment providers, local hospitals, school districts, faith based members and government officials. The task force continues working on the action plan for the initiation of services for the drug problem affecting Lake County.
The goal is to come together as a community, analyze the challenges, and formulate preventative solutions. Currently, the initiative is in the second phase of the comprehensive plan, that will aim to expand communication countywide via a text-a-tip line. The goal of the program is to connect community members with critical healthcare and treatment services if and when they encounter an issue related to substance abuse, mentl health, suicide or other traumatic incidences.
Kevin Kaminski and Steve Lunardi, Jr. spoke about their personal experiences with drug abuse and Terri Bartlett spoke about losing a son to a heroin overdose.
There were several tables setup in the lobby with plenty of literature for those seeking additional information and/or services related to drug dependency and abuse.
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