ROLLING MEADOWS (CBS) — Faced with an alarming rise in heroin use in the suburbs, one town is offering addicts a deal the could save their lives.
In Rolling Meadows, users are being asked come to City Hall, go up to the second floor police department, turn in their drugs and get help.
“We’re sick of seeing our kids get hurt or dying out there,” said Police Cmdr. Tom Gadowski said.
“We’re not going to arrest you. We’re going to get you into treatment right away. We don’t want to put you in a jail cell.”
Twenty-year-old Nick Ryan of Oswego died of an overdose in 2013, hooked on the drug by his father, Tim, who was also an addict.
Tim Ryan is now clean and works full-time to help other addicts recover.
“I’ve dealt with two deaths in the past week,” he said.
Ryan applauds the Rolling Meadows effort. He helped police in Dixon set up a similar “turn yourself in” program last month.
“We’ve put 19 people into treatment since September 1,” Ryan said. “Four have already come back, are doing well and are clean and sober.”
In Chicago’s suburbs, the heroin epidemic among young people in their teens and 20s continues. Heroin kills someone every three days in the collar counties.
“This isn’t about getting PR,” said Gadowski. “We’re not looking for that at all. This is about saving lives.”
Tim Ryan says heroin addicts have three choices.
“You get into recovery, you end up in the prison system, or you die.”