Drug Abuse Symposium Wednesday Night to Connect Addicts, Families with Helpful Resources
Orland Township has invited a wide range of educators, mental health practitioners, law enforcement officials and community groups to gather Wednesday, May 2 to help “link” those in need to available substance abuse assistance.
Kathy Passafiume is concerned about families, particularly those who aren’t seeking any help when a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
“There’s a lot of lying with addiction,” said Passafiume, the Orland Township Youth and Family Services clinical director. “People minimize and normalize and the problems just continue. That’s a shame when there are so many people who really aim to do right and keep kids safe.”
In March, professionals from law enforcement, mental health practices, school districts, as well as government officials, met to pool resources in the wake of a noted rise in heroin-related arrests and deaths. Two main conclusions were made. A great deal of varied treatments, counseling and programs are available throughout the nearby villages, but the people who need help aren’t connecting with what’s out there.
On Wednesday, May 2, the Community Link Symposium will be held at Carl Sandburg High School to introduce people to the various local drug and alcohol support services.
The symposium will include Orland Park police officers talking about the modern drug trends seen in the area, and describing heroin’s new look.
“We have these dated images of people with missing teeth in abandoned homes,” Passafiume said. “But now we’re seeing cheerleaders and student athletes.”
David Lee, who lived through years of drug abuse himself before turning his recovery process into treatment called Intervention Services, will tell his story.
“He will also talk about why some people are able to just dabble with substances, and others become addicts,” Passafiume said.
Mary Egan, community relations coordinator from Rosecrance Health Network, will go over specific prevention techniques, the best among them practicing safe and open communication between family members.
“That’s how you best learn what your kids are doing and who they are doing it with,” Passafiume said.
Finally, a wide panel of people representing the different treatment and counseling options available from religious organizations, health care, schools, community centers and others, will introduce themselves for about two minutes each, describing what they can offer. The representatives will later be on hand for one-on-one talks with attendees as well.
Shame is one of the most common reasons holding people back from seeking treatment for themselves and for loved ones. To accommodate privacy, each organization’s information will be handed out as a printed package to all attendees, Passafiume said.
“The whole point is getting rid of the shame to simply ask for help,” Passafiume said. “There so many options out there, and these helpers have been in the trenches for a long time. They know what to do with all these situations. All we need to do is link the two together.”
What: Community Link Symposium
Where: Carl Sandburg High School Gold Gymnasium, 13300 S. LaGrange Rd.
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 2
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