Senator Dick Durbin Holds Roundtable Meeting to Discuss Plan to Combat Heroin and Opioid Issues

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“All day long is how am I going to get high, you know, again? Because the once is not enough. That’s just like an everyday thing. It’s a nightmare. It truly is. Like I would rather be dead then doing that.”

A recovering heroin addict describing the journey she wishes never happened to her. She tells Eyewitness News it was the most difficult thing she’s had to live through.

She spoke about her story during a roundtable meeting Wednesday morning hosted by Senator Dick Durbin, who believes there are simply too many opioid pills in America and not enough treatment capacity.

“Stop flooding America with these opioid pills. They produce enough opioid pills to provide every adult American a 1-month prescription every year. That’s way beyond what’s necessary,” Durbin says.

It’s one reason why deaths from prescription opioids have quadrupled since 1999.

“Doctors and dentists, slow down on the prescriptions you’re writing. Follow the center for disease control. Don’t overdo it and give a huge bottle.”

And many opioid abusers later turn to heroin, which accounts for 40% of overdose deaths in Illinois.

Tammy Wardemann lost her son to heroin abuse, and helped found the non-profit organization Hope Over Addiction.

“I want to give his death purpose. Chris was a wonderful, wonderful young man. And he really wanted to tell a story and help others. So I want to carry that on. I don’t want any other parent to go through what we’ve gone through,” she said.

She believes the group can do many things, including potentially giving addicts and recovering addicts a place to go — something that officials say needs to be done as there is capacity for just one-in-eight addicts who need help.

Durbin thinks that needs to change.

“We need to bring attention, we need to bring changes in laws to help us to provide more treatment, and to provide the funding,” Dr. Raymond Garcia of Rosecrance says.

“We’re going at it at every level…We’ve got to make sure that those who are suffering from this addiction have a place to turn,” said Durbin.

Durbin is a strong advocate of eliminating drug overdose occurrences. That can be seen in several ways, including contacting pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and dentists to ensure they are following the guidelines that are set.

He is also actively contacting insurance companies to make sure they are treating addicts fairly.

Several pieces of legislation have been introduced by Durbin already, and he plans on adding to that list down the road to prevent addiction before it occurs, and to increase access to drug prevention programs.

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