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Heroin use a growing problem in Chicago suburbs

On Tuesday, law enforcement officials from the Chicago area met in Palos Hills, a suburb west of Chicago, to address the increasing number of heroin-related deaths in suburban Chicago. In Will County, for example, the number of heroin overdoses has gone from five in the last four years to about 70 in the past two years. The reason: heroin is now more accessible and is an easy to consume street drug.

The development is scary, of course, as heroin is widely considered the most deadly drug available. Increasingly, it is being passed around the party scene, where it is commonly held that one is not an addict if one snorts or smokes the drug, but only if one injects it. The party scene is a prime context for use of the drug to spread.

Tuesday's meeting highlighted the "heroin highways," primarily interstates 88 and 290, which bring the drugs in. The idea behind the meeting, which was one of many that are being held, is to increase communication among law enforcement representatives around the region and increase awareness in communities. Local law enforcement are also getting county and state agencies involved, as addicts often travel long distances to obtain heroin.

The heroin problem is, of course, a serious one and even defense attorneys cannot criticize law enforcement for targeting the problem. Whenever officers heavily target criminal activity, though, there is an increased possibility for violation of suspect's rights. And in prosecuting charges, it is important the defendants have their rights represented. Regardless of the dangers of heroin trafficking, police have boundaries they need to abide by and prosecutors must be held to their full burden of proof.

This is where a skilled defense attorney comes in. By obtaining legal representing early on in the defense process, criminal defendants are taking the first step toward protecting themselves and working for the best possible outcome in their case.

Source: WBEZ91.5, "Police: Heroin a growing menace in Chicago suburbs," October 24, 2012

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