Streator responders warn public of recent spike in opioid overdoses
By David Giuliani, firstname.lastname@example.org, 815-431-4041
Debbie Hallam is saddened by the latest wave of overdoses in Streator.
The organizer of Dusty Roads, a group that seeks rehabilitation for those with addiction, wants those battling drug addiction, or family members of those with addiction to know there's hope.
Her group has helped more than 500 people since she lost her son to an overdose.
"I have clients now who are making $80,000 to $90,000 a year when they were not too long ago spending $100 a day on heroin," Hallam said. "I have clients who have gone back to school. ... It keeps me going to hear the success stories."
On Thursday, the Streator Fire and Police departments issued a news release urging the public to check on loved ones or friends suffering from addiction.
Hallam said it was the second wave of overdoses in the city since January.
"It doesn't have to be," Hallam said. "There's help out there. It breaks my heart every time I hear of someone else. There's so many people affected by losing one person. There's so many people who felt so helpless."
Information on the number of overdoses was not released.
On Monday, Streator firefighter Eric Hoffmeyer said on Twitter there were 11 overdoses in seven days "in our little town of 13,000."
In an interview, Park said Streator wants to make people aware of the problem.
"Anytime there is a confirmed overdose, police, fire and ambulance are all dispatched," he said.
Hallam is glad the police and fire departments issued the release to warn residents "there's a bad batch out there."
"We've been pretty busy this week with calls of people wanting help," Hallam said of Dusty Roads.
A representative of the nearby Ottawa Fire Department said his agency hadn't seen any spike in opioid overdoses in recent days.
According to the Streator news release, opioids are a family of drugs that have morphine-like effects. Their primary medical use is to relieve pain, but they have a high risk for addiction and dependence that can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in improper doses, the release said.
"Illicit drugs, including heroin, that are purchased on the street are extremely dangerous because they come in different mixtures and unknown strengths," the release said. "A person suffering from an opioid overdose may appear to simply be asleep but can't be awakened."
Call 911 immediately if you suspect a person has overdosed.
Dusty Roads and Buddy's Purpose will present a free Naloxone training with kits provided from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 3, at the Streator Incubator East Door (the former Armory), 401 W. Bridge St. Separate programs will run roughly at the beginning of each hour.
Naloxone/Narcan is a synthetic drug that counters the effect of opioid overdose. If you use opioids or know someone who uses opioids, it is vital to have naloxone on hand. La Salle County had 35 residents die from an overdose last year. Nationally 177 people die every day. The event is sponsored by Two Rivers Outreach.
For questions or to reserve a seat, call or text Lori at 815-993-6294 or Debbie at 815-510-0015. Anyone in need of Dusty Roads assistance can call 815-510-0015.