The report finds an increase in the number of people admitted to emergency rooms for heroin overdose or addiction.
In all there were nearly 24,000 emergency room cases in the metro area between 2004 and 2008. That's 50 percent more than New York City.
The study also found that a majority of heroin users in Chicago were older African-Americans. But everywhere else in the state they tended to be younger and white.
The study's author says reforming drug education is key to fixing the problem.
"When we're thinking about drug education we really need to think about it in a different way--we can't just say, 'Don't do this, because it's bad.' Well, bad like what? Bad like pot is bad?" said Kathie Kane Willis, Roosevelt University
Other suggestions include increasing or restoring treatment funding and creating a law that provides some protections for 9-1-1 callers who report drug overdoses.