Leaders gather on opioid crisis

September 15, 2018

KANKAKEE — Local leaders met earlier this week to discuss their efforts to help children in families with adults who suffer from opioid and other addictions.

Retired Kankakee teacher Rosemary Pistorius said she and retired Bradley teacher Mary Self were approached by representatives from the state Opioid Crisis Response Advisory Council to hold a local meeting. Both women have long been involved in issues affecting children.

Part of the reason for the meeting, Pistorius said, was that state officials heard Kankakee was doing “a lot of really good stuff” in dealing with the opioid crisis, and they wanted to find out more. They also suggested the meeting as a way to discover gaps in services being offered children.

“An addiction of any kind is a family disease. It affects everyone,” Pistorius said.

The meeting, which was held Monday at the Kankakee Area YMCA, drew about 70 people, including representatives of government entities, nonprofit groups and churches.

A deputy coroner spoke to the audience about the opioid issue. He did a “wonderful job focusing on the effects on children and what they have seen,” Pistorius said.

Pistorius said organizers originally considered alerting the public through the media, but decided against doing so. She said the goal was to invite representatives of agencies helping people with addiction issues.

“We chose not to make a public announcement because of the nature of the state’s request. They didn’t say for us to hold a public forum. They said for us to get people who are stakeholders. We did our best,” Pistorius said.

She said the meeting was probably a one-time situation.

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