US surgeon general talks about opioid epidemic in Kane County

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Fighting the opioid epidemic is a priority for U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams. (WLS)

Fighting the opioid epidemic is a priority for U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams.

On Wednesday, he participated in a forum in Kane County -- where opioid overdoses is a leading cause of death -- that looked at the issue. The forum was hosted by Congressman Randy Hultgren, of the 14th District.

A month ago, Adams issued a rare advisory encouraging more people to routinely carry the overdose reversing drug naloxone. He said the second step is decreasing demand by discouraging doctors from prescribing pain medication.

"There is a killer in far too many of our medicine cabinets, we know that 4 out of 5 heroin users get started with prescription opioid medication," said Adams.

During Wednesday's forum, the surgeon general reminded the audience that every 12.5 minutes someone dies from an opioid overdose in the country.

Robin Dale's 26 year old son Matthew died in December.

"I was surprised it was our son, he played baseball, all the sports, he did everything a kid would typically do, we are a good family and he got caught up in it and there was no stopping it."

Dale said more must be done to educate students, as young as middle schoolers, and parents about the dangers of opioids.

Others on the front lines said not nearly enough money is being spent on treatment or long term recover.

"When the AIDS epidemic was at its peak, they were allocating $23,000 per patient, they are allocating $133 per person struggling with opioid misuse disorder", said Tim Ryan, an anti-heroin activist. Ryan is a recovering addict who now helps addicts.

He said the crisis is only getting worse: "I'm sick and tired of burying people."
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healthopioidsdrug addictiondrugsKane County
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