Heroin Overdoses Surpass Gun Homicides For Cause Of Death In 2015

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Rockford paramedics were rushed to an address on East State St. earlier Monday for a report of a man overdosing on heroin.

Despite their best efforts, paramedics on scene told Eyewitness News his prognosis was not good. It was a scene that has become to common in the stateline, and across the nation.

‘The Center For Disease Control’ (CDC) released data explaining that in 2015, heroin overdose deaths surpassed gun homicides nationwide as a cause of death for the first time ever.  Winnebago County Coroner Bill Hintz said he wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“Over the last several … years here in our county alone, our heroin deaths have outnumbered our homicide numbers,” said Hintz. He told Eyewitness News that there have been 44 heroin related deaths this year compared to 17 homicides by shooting or stabbing in the county. Hintz believes one reason is because heroin is so cheap.

“The drugs are inexpensive, the heroin is very inexpensive to be able to get,” he said. “We’ve got teenagers all the way up to individuals that are 70 and 80 years old that have heroin in their system,” he added.

The executive director for Hope Over Addiction, Tammy Wardemann, agrees. “The truth is they are parents, they are children, they are our children, they are members of the community, there are professionals that have opioid addictions,” said Wardemann. She has personally been affected by the heroin epidemic, losing her son Chris to an overdose.

She believes the next step, is breaking the stigma of addiction. “Some people will not go for treatment because they are ashamed, they are embarrassed, family members are ashamed and embarrassed, so we have to end the stigma and talk about it,” Wardemann added.

Coroner Bill Hintz suggested to Eyewitness News that the sooner one gets help the better off they will be. Many resources are available in the Rockford area, it is urged if you are struggling to seek out treatment.

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