Manar Jennifer WatsonrSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) is calling for the creation of a task force to address the growing problem of heroin use among teenagers in Illinois.

“There has been a recent upward trend in heroin use in the last decade, especially among young, rural teenagers,” Manar said. “This alarming pattern needs to be addressed.”

Macoupin County State’s Attorney Jennifer Watson indicated that she has seen a staggering increase in heroin use over the past two years.

“In our small county, we have had nine heroin overdoses in the last 18 months,” Watson said. “Three of those overdoses resulted in death.”

Heroin use is on the rise as more and more teens in rural parts of the state are lured by its low cost and availability. Heroin is second only to alcohol in substances for which people are seeking treatment in Illinois.

The task force will be responsible for studying the use of heroin in high schools and suggesting programs to help aid schools in addressing teenage heroin use.

“We have to get educators, law enforcement officials, parents, lawmakers and most importantly, students, all communicating about the consequences and severity of this deadly drug,” Manar said.

House Bill 946, which creates the task force, passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday and now awaits approval by the full Senate. 

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