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Mom Of Heroin Addict Takes Her Family’s Story To Police Departments — If They’ll Listen

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Dana Kozlov Dana Kozlov
Dana Kozlov is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago. She...
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(CBS) – You don’t want to hear there’s a heroin problem in the suburbs?

Too bad, says one suburban mom.

She’s now taking her awareness message to police.

As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, she has a very personal reason for doing so.

It’s not easy for P.J. Newberg to talk about her daughter Paula’s heroin addiction. But it’s her mission, and she spent Friday morning sharing her experience with Skokie police.

Newberg was invited to Skokie to help raise awareness about the growing suburban scourge and its devastating impact on the area’s teens and their families.

“That’s one of the other reasons we brought P.J. in, (it) is to give that depth beyond just that one individual that you’re dealing with,” Sgt. David Pawlak says.

It’s personal for P.J. and has been for three years, ever since Paula first got hooked. CBS 2 talked to the then-18-year-old Paula a year ago inside Cook County Jail, where she was serving time for shoplifting due to her addiction.

Newberg says Paula’s out now. She says she was clean for a while but is using again — a mother’s nightmare.

Still, it’s an experience she’ll share to hopefully make a difference for everyone from parents to police.

“We see the other side of it. We see the user end of it. We don’t see the family aspect as much,” Officer Adam Orozco says.

Newberg says Skokie is the first police department to bring her in to speak. Others, and many schools, have turned her down, she thinks because they don’t want to talk about the drug.

For more information, visit northshoresecretheroinproblem.com.

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