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Letter: Heroin use prevention important in education

To the Editor: We would like to commend the state legislature for taking action on the heroin crisis affecting too many families in Illinois. Lawmakers recently passed House Bill 946, which creates the Young Adults Heroin Use Task Force and charges the group with studying "the growing problem of heroin use in high schools across this state."

We urge the governor to sign this bill so the task force can be formed and promptly begin its important work.

The Robert Crown Center for Health Education began piloting a heroin prevention education initiative in four counties during the 2012-2013 school year. We welcome the engagement of state lawmakers, school administrators, law enforcement, educators and parents as we seek to reduce the number of lives lost.

Our research shows that typical drug prevention education approaches are failing to prevent the problem of heroin abuse. Together, we can help our youth understand the devastating effects of heroin on the brain, the body, on their families and futures.

As a community, we can adopt effective primary prevention strategies to reduce the hold heroin has on our young people and guarantee a healthier future for Illinois students and their families.

Kathleen M. Burke
CEO, Robert Crown Center for Health Education

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