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Forum on heroin and its effects rescheduled for January

Published: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 4:46 p.m. CST

COAL CITY – A forum on heroin and its effects on youth and families has been rescheduled for January.

The forum had been scheduled for Nov. 20, but was canceled after a tornado struck Coal City and Diamond, since it was to be held in Coal City.

The forum now is scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 15, according to a news release from Grundy County State's Attorney Jason Helland. It will be in the auditorium at Coal City High School, 655 W. Division St.

The forum will feature speakers Pat Spangler and John Roberts. Spangler has worked in the substance abuse field for 18 years and facilitates trainings ranging from local symposiums, to regional trainings as well as national conferences. He is a senior addictions counselor at Rosecrance in Rockford.

Roberts is a retired, 40-year captain from the Chicago Police Department and is actively involved in heroin-related legislation in Illinois. He co-founded Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization after losing his son, Billy, to heroin in 2010. He will speak about ways to cope with the loss of a loved one, how to react to and deal with a current user, and how to prevent drug use or spot the signs of it before it’s too late.

The panel of professionals will include: Tom Best of Coal City Police, Kristie Polk of Crossroads Counseling, Christina Hintze of the Grundy County Coroner’s Office, Helland, Dr. Ronald Wuest of the Institute for Professional Development, Elizabeth Thrun and Kevin Bernard from Morris Hospital, and Brian Hazard of Stepping Stones Treatment & Recovery Center, according to the news release.

Topics will include the misuse and abuse, dangerous side effects, treatment/counseling and the penalties for possession or distribution of heroin. There will be a question and answer session at the end.

A mock-up of a teen’s bedroom “In Plain Sight” will be set up at the forum for public viewing. As you walk through you will learn about the common danger-signs and paraphernalia that might be hiding or in plain view in your teen’s bedroom, according to the news release.

The community forum is intended for parents/guardians, educators, health professionals and other concerned citizens. It is sponsored by Coal City CUSD 1, Coal City Police Department, Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Office and the No Tolerance Task Force.

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