Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain, State’s Attorney Joe McMahon and Coroner Rob Russell are all warning the public about a sudden increase in heroin overdose deaths, as there have been six deaths from heroin overdose in the last six weeks, officials announced in a news release.
This brings the deaths from opiates to 12 as of May 31, Russell said.
“We had quite a few deaths in a short time, which indicates a bad batch of heroin,” Russell said. “None of it’s good, but the doses are more lethal due to the concentration of fentanyl.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate painkiller that is stronger than heroin and is often paired with heroin and other opiates, leading to overdose deaths, Russell said.
This surge of deaths is indicative of trends where new compounds are added to heroin by trafficking groups, according to the release.
Hain has implemented treatment for those addicted to opioids, coupled with counseling, in the county jail as a means of rehabilitation.
“Our jail is the fusion center for all of our community’s problems,” Hain stated in the release. “What we do inside our facility to support the incarcerated will hopefully have a positive impact on our citizens when they return to home.”
Hain is also working toward the opening of a residential treatment center to be housed in the sheriff’s office which would be open to Kane County residents.
Russell stated in the release that the opioid epidemic continues.
“That is the bad news,” Russell stated in the release. “The good news is that through the collaborative efforts, the number of deaths appears to be down from last year at this time. My sincere hope is that the rate of death continues to fall. Collaboration is the key and we continue to do it at optimal levels. This sudden increase the past six weeks is a reminder that we must continue to be vigilant throughout the year.”
McMahon stated in the release that his office would continue to prosecute heroin dealers while directing users toward treatment and rehabilitation.
“I recognize that we cannot arrest and prosecute our way out of this opioid addiction and overdose crisis,” McMahon stated in the release. “Heroin is a horrible drug that becomes more dangerous and deadly when it is mixed with synthetics like fentanyl. I hope people who are using heroin or opioid products will seek treatment and counseling on their own, before it becomes an addiction.”
Hain, McMahon and Russell are all members of Kane County’s Opioid Task Force, which is led by the Health Department.
They continue to collaborate in the establishment of A Way Out, a program which provides law enforcement-led connections to treatment centers for those with opioid addiction.
The program will be in full operation soon, but both Hain and Russell urge anyone struggling with addiction to reach out to them now for treatment referral.
Hain can be reached at 630-208-2000 and Russell can be reached at 630-232-3535.