Addiction in the suburbs
Covering social and health issues that matter in the Chicago suburbs with an emphasis on accuracy, timeliness, emotion and explanation. Following topics such as the heroin problem, mental health concerns, disability care and gender equality while covering a municipal beat in Naperville, Illinois' fifth-largest city.
Addiction in the suburbs
It's tough to tell what truly is happening with teen marijuana use in states where the drug is legal for adults. But prevention advocates in Illinois trust a statewide survey will give clear results in the years after legal use beings here Jan. 1.
Opioid overdose deaths reached record highs last year in DuPage, Lake and Will counties, sparking new calls for action by advocates working to combat the epidemic. DuPage and Will each tallied nearly 100 deaths from heroin, fentanyl and other opioids -- both prescribed and illicit -- with DuPage totaling 98 and Will counting 94.
Updated 1/25/2019 10:41 AM Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the title of Adriane Price, clinical supervisor of the Gateway Warm Hand Off program Roughly 155 suburban residents treated for opioid overdoses and then released from four area hospitals last year were immediately given the option to obtain additional long-term treatment thanks to a first-of-its-kind program based in Lake County and Chicago.
Staying sober isn't easy for former heroin addicts in the early stages of recovery. It takes a new routine. A network of support. Maybe a finding of faith. Probably a change of scenery. And, often, a new place to live.
Two Lombard residents have turned their home into a sober house, hosting 24 roommates in four years as they've journeyed toward sobriety from heroin. "We know scores of men and women who are peaceful and at ease," said home owner Jessica Alvarez. "There is hope that people do recover."
Prescription drug overdoses now kill more people each year than car crashes, so suburban communities are stepping up to curb the trend with awareness campaigns and increasing drug take-back programs.
DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group agents are "the middle guys" in the fight against heroin, seeking to arrest the dealers who sell the drug in the suburbs. Part 4 of a 14-part series "Heroin in the Suburbs: Through their Eyes."
When Kent and Patty Perry of Schaumburg's daughter first got hooked on heroin in her late 20s, the lives of the Perrys, their daughter and their three granddaughters changed forever. The Perrys now care for their granddaughters, who see two potential futures for their mother.
Among all the sad realities about mental health care, here's one that's hard to shake: Money matters. Even comfortably middle-class suburban residents find it challenging to pay for mental health care, so the cost of treatment can be discouraging for many who need help, experts say.
Courtney McClear has autism and, for the first time, her relatives believe they can do something to find out why. The McClears plan to sign up Saturday for a nationwide study of the genetics of autism, a program called SPARK, that aims to collect DNA from 50,000 people with the condition and their relatives to give researchers an influx of new data.
With muted lights, soft music and floor-to-ceiling windows, the Living Room is designed to be an oasis -- a deliberate contrast to the emergency rooms many of its guests have frequented.
Training to help people respond to mental health emergencies is spreading across the suburbs as communities notice the growing need for more comprehensive help.
Crisis Intervention Team training for police officers is in high demand in the suburbs, where cops are beginning to approach mental health calls with an eye toward offering solutions. First in a two-part series.
Life in the suburbs
A Naperville North High School student touched a nerve and sparked a communitywide conversation when she posted an online petition seeking to change the "pressure culture" at her school.
Stephen Boisse will never forget the boy's death. The details haunt him. The death seemed to touch every facet of his own life. It led him to find a way to help overtaxed caregivers of adults with disabilities
2 Luke Koupal kneels on the kitchen floor and presses his face into the fur of Starburst, his second golden retriever by the same name. Routine helps his parents keep him in control as the family copes with his autism.