Across the country, states are facing unprecedented drug crises. As addiction to Opiates is on the rise, officials are fighting back against this deadly epidemic. Now, authorities must fend off classic drugs of abuse, as well as these newly trending substances. With its close proximity to the major hub of Chicago, Aurora has been exposed to the substance abuse issues that are facing the country.
If you or a loved one are fighting substance abuse, you are free to contact us. Also, please continue reading to learn more about the City of Aurora and how they are managing a growing drug problem. You will also find helpful resources for those who are currently struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Incorporated in 1845, Aurora was built around a mill site erected by Joseph and Samuel McCarty. The Fox River, which runs through the location, powered the mill and many other local businesses. Around 1857, Aurora expanded its borders when it merged with a growing city located across the Fox River. Municipal buildings were placed on an island in the middle of the river to show unity and to avoid conflict.
Today, Aurora is mostly located in Kane County, but also extends into DuPage, Kendall, and Will Counties. The river that runs through the center of the city makes a natural border between two locations that were once quite distinct. In the late 1800’s, the East side of the river was home to most of Aurora’s businesses, providing employment for locals and immigrants, alike. The West side of the river grew to become more affluent, as it housed the business professionals who found work in Aurora.
Despite the social and economic divide, Aurora grew into a progressive city on many levels. The area boasted several churches of different faiths and even opened a high school for girls in the late 1800’s. Officials also openly supported abolitionists during the Civil War years. It was even one of the first cities in America to install electric streetlights. These forward thinking ideals, as well as the growing economy lead to a steady increase in Aurora’s population throughout time.
Even during WWII Aurora’s economy boomed. Many factories still opened in the area as late as the 1960’s. Opening a business in Aurora was advantageous for many business, including manufacturing plants, because there was good transportation, a solid workforce, and a strong economic center. Unfortunately, Aurora fell victim to the outsourcing of labor in the 1980’s, as did many cities across the nation. At that point, nearly 16% of the population was unemployed.
Luckily, Aurora city officials sprung into action, creating tens of thousands of jobs for these unemployed men and women. The Fox River created an ideal place for commerce, and Riverboat Casinos became quite popular. Furthermore, the areas that once held factories were turned into business parks or residential neighborhoods. The city actively took steps to rejuvenate the area for both residents and visitors. Even Hollywood saw potential in Aurora: the famous movie Wayne’s World (1992) was even set in the city.
Today, Aurora’s economy remains relatively strong. The population continues to grow as families relocate to the area looking for work or a suburban lifestyle (but within reach of a major city). While it is often simply assessed as a suburb of Chicago, the city of Aurora is distinct in its own right; it is even the second most populated city in the State of Illinois. The area is also known for its large assortment of unique architectural buildings, museums, and parks.
While Aurora had been lucky to thrive economically throughout the decades, it has not been immune to the drug problem that has gripped our nation. City officials are now facing the challenge of preventing and treating substance abuse.
While local authorities still face issues with classic substances of abuse (such as Cocaine and Marijuana), they are now tasked with fighting the rampant new drug trend: Opiates. Across the nation, doctors are prescribing painkillers, such as Hydrocodone and Oxycodone, at record levels. Everything from a toothache to a broken bone is now treated with these dangerous pills.
Unfortunately, what may start out as an innocent prescription often turns into an addiction for unwitting patients. When the prescription no longer becomes available to the addict, they may turn to the street to get the pills illicitly. When this habit becomes to expensive, addicts often switch to Heroin or Fentanyl, which are even more deadly Opiates. In fact, in Illinois, drug deaths have outnumbered motor vehicle accident fatalities since 2006. This growing trend has officials, both nationwide and in Aurora, scrambling for answers.
Recently, investigations and operations across Kane County, including in Aurora, have lead to major drug busts. When these raids happen, drug dealers are often also found with multiple illicit substances, weapons, and large amounts of cash. When these drug dealers and manufacturers are caught, they are frequently charged with Class X felonies, including, but not limited to:
While officials are working on removing the dealers and manufacturers from the streets, they are also issuing public service announcements about the dangers of substance abuse, including Heroin use. They hope that these messages will educate the local public and prevent further abuse of illicit substances. The Aurora Police Department also offers crime prevention programs on a regular basis, including Drug and Alcohol Prevention Programs as well as Gang Prevention Programs.
As substance abuse, including Heroin and other Opiate use, becomes increasingly popular in Illinois, officials state that the problem is not limited to inner cities or low-income areas. In fact, suburban areas are seeing a high percentage of the population addicted to Opiates. In an effort to deal with this growing epidemic, Kane County implemented a specialized Drug Court to deal with the influx of drug crimes. Often, the goal is to get offenders help, instead of simply incarcerating them. This method helps save the state money and it also helps connect addicts with the appropriate resources.
If you or a loved one are suffering with substance abuse and addiction, it may be time to reach out for help. Don’t be afraid to seek a helping hand because of shame, stigma, or fear of prosecution; if you don’t get treatment now, it could have fatal consequences.
There are also a number of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings in and around the Aurora area. To dispose of unused, expired, or unwanted prescription medications, Kane County has several resources for the recycling of these substances.
For more information on substance abuse and treatment in Aurora, Illinois, please feel free to contact us today.
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