Friday, July 13, 2012

OFPD hosts parent seminar on Heroin and Substance abuse Wed July 18

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OFPD hosts parent seminar on Heroin and Substance abuse Wed July 18

The Orland Fire Protection District is hosting a program Wednesday July 18 at 7 pm to help parents recognize challenges facing their children related to drug abuse and other distractions while driving such as texting.

The program, called “In the Blink of an Eye,” will be hosted by OFPD Battalion Chief Michael Schofield and will feature two short but impactful videos and presentations from people who lost loved ones to drug abuse including alcohol and heroin.

Schofield said that while many parents are aware of problems involving alcohol abuse and driving while intoxicated, many suburbanites are surprised to learn that heroin use is increasing in middle class communities including those in the Southwest Suburbs.

“The program is designed to help parents understand that one seemingly innocent choice can dramatically change a child’s life and that change is instant and overwhelming,” Schofield said.

“We address alcohol abuse by teenagers, DUIs and also Heroin use, which is on the rise.”

Schofield said the program, which will be held at the Orland Fire Protection District’s headquarters at 9790 W. 151st Street in the District’s Board room, will feature two short but powerful videos on the impact that drugs and alcohol can have on a young life.

One involves texting and driving and another involves drinking while driving.

“They are very graphic and realistic,” Schofield said. “We want parents to recognize how serious these issues are. People talk about the problem but many do so in the context of it not impacting their lives. It’s something they read in a newspaper about someone else. We want them to know these tragedies can impact their lives directly.”

Speakers and presenters include Tammy O’Brien, who works with the Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists (AAIM).

O’Brien’s son was a police officer who was drinking and driving and then got into an accident resulting the death of two Orland students. O’Brien will discuss how the accident certainly cost the lives of two young kids but also how it impacted her son, who had career dreams and ambitions that were destroyed by that one moment in time. Her son’s mistake cost two lives and changed his life forever.

Schofield said they will also play a 911 audio tape involving an heroin overdose from a victim in Orland Park.

Another speaker is a graduate from Lockport High school whose friend died of an Heroin overdose. The boy’s father, Brian Kirk, will also discuss his son who was only a few weeks away from high school graduation at the time of his death.

At the end of the presentations, the speakers and Fire District officials will engage the parents in an open discussion.

Schofield said that the misconceptions about heroin use need to be shattered.

“We hope to get parents to attend. It is a very powerful message. There is no stereotype for a heroin addict,” Schofield said.

“We want to make parents aware that they can make a difference in the lives of their children. It’s not too late. The children and parents need to recognize the consequences of their mistakes. Bad things do happen to good kids. Heroin is a real problem in the suburbs. It’s impacting kids with straight As. There is no stereotype for a heroin addict.”