U.S. Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL,11) joined medical experts Monday to discuss the science of heroin and opioid addiction.
The discussion, held in Naperville at Edward Hospital, drew attention to the "effect of opioids on brain function, new medical treatment options and the best techniques for speaking with loved ones about addiction," according to Foster's office.
"Recent advances in the science behind drug addiction make it clear that opioid and heroin addiction is a treatable medical condition and not a moral failing," Foster said in a statement. "Today, we began the conversation in our district about new medically assisted treatments available to individuals and their families who need help. In Congress, I have worked to make sure these treatment options are more readily available to everyone who needs them. We must work together to end this epidemic."
There were over 28,000 opioid-related drug overdose deaths nationwide in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Illinois, there were 1,705 total drug overdose deaths that year.
David Lott, medical director of addiction programs at Linden Oaks Hospital, was among the panelists at Monday's discussion.
"This event helped raise awareness in the community about this problem to help those in the audience as well as their kids and families. The more people are aware of the opioid epidemic, the more they can protect themselves and their families from it," Lott said. "Congressman Foster's emphasis on the science of addiction helps reduce the stigma of substance use disorders so we can treat people with compassion and understanding. We all need to keep working together to help those struggling with addiction."