124. That's how many deaths Winnebago County saw from drug overdose in 2013. That's more than two a week. To become aware of the epidemic and beat it, dozens of Rockford area residents head to an educational summit.
Among the 124 fatal overdoses, drugs like heroin, which hooked one Rockford resident for nearly 10 years.
"One thing led to another and by the age of 15 I was doing heavy drugs. Heavy, heavy drugs. Like everyday, all day." -says Phillip Wright.
You might recognize that name. This is the same Phillip Wright who went to prison six years ago for robbing a bank in Paw Paw, Illinois. What you maybe didn't know, Wright committed the crime to pay for his addiction. What he eventually paid was time.
"I did a couple years in federal prison and got out and continued [to use]. Not as much, because I had a lot of drug tests to take, with a state probation officer, federal probation officer, six drug tests a month, outpatient treatment and I still used. I still found a way around it."
Five years sober, he and Freeport resident former addict Miles Schwartz are at an informational summit to learn about heroin now-a-days that overdose deaths have almost tripled since 2011.
"I thought it was bad before I didn't know it had gotten worse that it had gotten easier to get." -Wright says.
Schwartz adds, "It's obviously a big deal and it needs coverage so what comes next? It was great to hear about possibilities as far as more of these types of things and being better publicized."
The summit went over ways to notice signs and symptoms of drug use. Look for behavior changes, friends the potential user doesn't want you to meet and physical signs like nodding off and pinpoint pupils.
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