Rockford is a pleasant city and it is also the third largest city in the U.S. state of Illinois. Rockford stands as the 171st most populous city in the entire United States, the second largest city in Illinois that is not already in the greater Chicago area, and the principal city of the 148th most populous metropolitan area in the United States. Rockford is also known for being the county seat of Winnebago County and is located on both banks of the beautiful Rock River in far, far northern Illinois. According to the 2010 census data as reported by the United States Census Bureau, the City of Rockford had a population of 152,871 persons all in all, with an outlying metropolitan area population of 348,360.
As for its involved history, settlement of Rockford began between 1834 and 1835. At that time Rockford was strategically positioned between Chicago and Galena and thus became suitable for industrial development during that time. Rockford was notable for its output of heavy machinery and tools for decades and, by the twentieth century, it was the second leading center of furniture manufacturing in the entire nation, and it was also the 94th largest city at that time. The decline of the city during the twentieth century, which was completely emblematic of other cities in the Rust Belt, led to economic diversification at that point into automotive, aerospace, and healthcare industries, as well as the undertaking of various tourism and downtown revitalization efforts so as to diversity the city’s infrastructure and income options.
Referred to by locals and tourists alike as the Forest City, Rockford is known for various venues of cultural or historical significance, including Anderson Japanese Gardens, Klehm Arboretum, Tinker Swiss Cottage, the BMO Harris Bank Center, the Coronado Theatre, the Laurent House, and the Burpee Museum of Natural History. The city has also made outstanding contributions to music and these are noted in the Mendelssohn Club, the oldest music club in the entire nation.
The attractions of Rockford are often of architectural significance. This is a city that has a lot of history which attracts plenty of tourists every year, but the city now also finally has a very stable and affluent economy. But they have been able to grow their economy and make some pretty huge transitions while still being able to hold on to their historic routes and revitalize and reimagine a lot of the historic buildings and factories.
For example, The Lake-Peterson House, constructed by alderman John Lake in 1873 and preserved by Swedish industrialist Pehr August Peterson, is a notable example of Gothic Revival. Further Swedish influence on Rockford during the Victorian era is represented in the Erlander Home Museum, the base of the Swedish Historical Society.
Rockford is a city of advancement, history, culture, and aesthetic appeal. It is not an expensive city to live in and it has a good job market, so it often attracts people from far and wide to live there. All in all, this is a city that knows what it’s doing when it comes to growing and bouncing back from hard times.
There are two times when drugs and alcohol really seem to make a very significant and a very pronounced impression in any given area, and this is when either the city is going through really, really bad times, or really, really good times. Either way, drug dealers and traffickers are more likely to target cities when either their current situation is just totally horrendous and they are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol, or when the city is doing really, really well and drug dealers feel that they will be able to make more money there as the city is experiencing economic prosperity and growth.
This has been the lot of life in Rockford and it has been this way for a couple decades now. For a long time, the city was going through really hard times and that attracted drug dealers and traffickers and pushers to feed on the grief and misery of the residents. Recently, the city has been doing better, and it has actually recovered quite well in fact from an economic perspective. The result has been that drug dealers and traffickers are still living and working there trying to get successful and productive individuals who are now making good income in the city onto and hooked on drugs. It would seem that, either way Rockford just can’t win.
Rockford isn’t the only city that is struggling though, and in fact a lot of other cities like it are also having a really hard time. For example, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NSDUH), had this to say on the matter:
Obviously, something has to be done about the drug problem in Rockford just like it has to be done in other cities that are affected in a similar way. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NSDUH), indicates in the above survey that Rockford is just one of many cities that is suffering right now. There are many others.
The key to beating the drug problem in Rockford lies in getting those who are addicted in this area into and through inpatient, residential, drug and alcohol addiction and dependence treatment centers, detox facilities, rehab programs, and recovery organizations. With proper rehab it actually becomes possible for those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol to get down to the root causes of their addiction nightmare and really dig it up and examine it from all angles and firmly eradicate it. If this is done for all of the addicts currently living in Rockford, then the city can finally start to get back into the sober state of living that it once knew.
Drug and alcohol abuse have touched nearly every community across the United States. As officials battle well established drugs of abuse, such as Cocaine and Marijuana, they are now also fighting a growing Opiate epidemic. Unfortunately, Illinois and many of its larger cities, such as Rockford, have not been immune to this trend. To learn more about the City of Rockford, as well as substance abuse and treatment options in the area, continue reading.
Rockford, which is located in Winnebago County, is the third largest city in Illinois and boasts a population of about 150,000. While the population has been decreasing in recent years, the city has still held its spot in the overall size rankings.
The city was founded along the banks of the Rock River, located in northern Illinois. Its close proximity to Chicago once made it the perfect location for industrial growth. Everything from heavy machinery to tools and furniture have been manufactured in the area. In fact, in the 1900’s, it was among the top two furniture manufacturing locations in the United States. The former home of a prominent furniture manufacturer, John Erlander, has even been turned into a museum in the city.
Unfortunately, Rockford’s industry began to decline in the 1950’s. The economy started shifting away from the center of Rockford and developed towards its Eastern border. Thus, the downtown area began to suffer economically and socially. Despite efforts to revitalize the downtown area, Rockford continued to decline through the 1980’s. The once famous Coronado Theatre eventually closed down and Amtrak limited its services to and from the city.
Rockford did see some improvements in the early 2000’s. The Coronado Theatre once again opened its doors and healthcare and aerospace industries moved in. The city also removed a controversial pedestrian mall, which nearly returned Rockford center to its former glory. The newly erected structures and amenities included an amphitheater, a river walk, increased rail services, and a new courthouse.
Regrettably, these renovations weren’t enough to completely revitalize Rockford. The city’s West side still suffered from the economic shift, and the schools and citizens bore the brunt of that damage. There were also major flooding events in 2006 and 2007, which destroyed a large portion of the city, including approximately 100 homes.
Since this time, Rockford has experienced a mass exodus of residents and a high unemployment rate. Though the rate recently declined, it is still far above the national average. In 2013, Rockford was even ranked in the top three of “America’s Most Miserable Cities” by Forbes Magazine. Even the well-known pop-culture dictionary website, Urban Dictionary, portrays Rockford as a decaying, dangerous city.
As an unfortunate cause (and effect) of the poor circumstances in Rockford, substance abuse has reached epidemic levels. Currently, Rockford officials and authorities are doing their best to fight this growing trend, and there are local treatment options available to those who struggle with addiction.
Unfortunately, Rockford is not new to fighting the tide of substance abuse. The crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980’s wreaked havoc on the city. Karl Fort and his gang, the Black Gangster Disciples, ran the crack cocaine trade in Rockford, creating a violent and dangerous atmosphere until the early 1990’s.
While the rampant use crack cocaine shot onto the scene like a fire hose, the Opiate epidemic has been more of a slow, invasive leak from a variety cracks in the foundation of the city. Recently, this so called flooding has become out of control. Now, Mexican gangs have jurisdiction ver Rockford’s drug trade, seeping Black Tar Heroin in through every possible channel.
In Winnebago County, and especially the City of Rockford, Heroin is easy to find. Local police and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recently took down a drug ring by simply placing an order for Heroin through a designated hotline. This widespread availability has made the drug popular among the youth in Rockford. The ease with which children, teens, and young adults can obtain Opiates has lead to a drastic increase in addiction to the substance. Addiction to Heroin, however, also begins another way: with a prescription from a physician.
In recent years, doctors have been prescribing painkillers, such as Oxycodone and Hydrocodone en masse. This class of drugs, which was once touted as safe, has actually proven to be extremely lethal. Unfortunately, patients are often unaware of the true danger of addiction, and can form a habit simply by taking their prescribed medication.
This unfortunate circumstance can cause patients to seek the drug illicitly, from the streets or through a technique called “doctor shopping”, where addicts visit multiple doctors until they find one who will prescribe the drug. Once the pills become unavailable, or too expensive, however, addicts often turn to other Opiates such as Heroin or Fentanyl, which are exceedingly dangerous and deadly.
Sadly, a prescription for painkillers can even harm friends and family when they are not properly disposed of. Many addictions begin when teens take unused, unwanted, or expired painkillers right from the medicine cabinet in their own home. Unaware of the real dangers, many teens suffer the consequences because they believe a medication prescribed by a doctor cannot harm them.
While investigators and authorities are fighting the influx of Opiates, they are also facing old battles against other substances, such as Cocaine, which is still popular in the city. Fortunately, local officials have teamed up with the DEA to stop the flow of drugs into Rockford and surrounding areas.
Local families who have been impacted by substance abuse have even formed the group Hope Over Addiction. This group helps provide Naloxone kits to the community (among other initiatives). These kits include a lifesaving drug that can reverse the effects of an Opiate overdose.
One local healthcare facility and hospital is even testing patients to make sure they are taking their prescriptions properly. They also plan to monitor those individuals who test positive for illicit substances. The organization hopes to prevent further prescription painkiller abuse and overdoses through this newly implemented procedure.
No one should be alone in his or her struggle with substance abuse and addiction. In Rockford and the surrounding area, you or your loved one can get the help and resources necessary to overcome substance abuse. To find a local treatment facility, please feel free to contact us, or any of the following facilities.
The area also hosts several Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings for addicts and those in recovery. Some meetings are open only to those who are battling substance abuse and others are open to anyone, including friends and families of substance abusers.
For more information on Rockford, Illinois, its substance abuse issues, as well as local treatment options, please feel free to contact us today.
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