CHICAGO (CBS) — With Will County headed towards possibly breaking a dubious record, officials were set to host an annual summit to tackle the deadly heroin epidemic.
Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow said there were 53 heroin-related overdose deaths in the county in 2012. The numbers were better the next two years, and Glasgow said he and others thought they were on the right track.
“Then the following year it went back up to 53, and now we’re on a pace for possibly 60,” he said.
Will County Coroner Patrick O’Neil said there have been 18 deadly heroin overdoses this year in the county, and toxicology reports remain pending on four other cases. If all four of those pending cases turn out to be heroin overdoses, Will County would be on track for nearly 70 such deaths this year.
The 2016 HERO-HELPS-Southwest Coalition Community Summit on Friday at Edward Hospital Athletic and Event Center in Romeoville will include a special focus on the new Illinois Heroin Crisis Act. Among other things, the law would expand second chance drug courts in Illinois, which Glasgow has had since 2000. It gives a person arrested on a drug charge a chance to get treatment and start life with a clean legal slate.
“In that year, Liz Johnson entered the drug court. She graduated, she went to college, she went to law school, and I hired her as a prosecutor in my office,” Glasgow said.