Grant approved to educate youth on heroin

6/22/2016, 12:42 p.m.

The Will County Board approved the allocation of nearly $30,000 of a federal Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) for heroin education in Lincoln-Way high schools and Wilmington junior high and high schools to help combat the heroin epidemic that has seen the county experience a record number of deaths.

In previous years, the Board has approved using the grant money to start a pilot education program with Robert Crown Health Education Center in Plainfield, Bolingbrook and Romeoville schools. In addition, the money funded a NARCAN program to train local law enforcement on administering a life saving drug to those that have overdosed.

The CDC has reported more people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2014 than during any previous year on record, and heroin deaths have more than tripled over the past four years. Outside of Cook County, Will County had more deaths from heroin in 2015 than any other Illinois county and experienced an estimated 50 percent increase compared to 2014. Of the 53 victims, 19 were 30 years old or younger.