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eNewsletter - April 2014


April 2014 e-Newsletter

Awareness is Key to Reducing Substance Abuse by Beth Sack

Most of you have probably heard the news about a new drug in the Chicago area called “Krokodil.” It is a homemade, synthetic form of a heroin-like drug, called desomorphine, that is made by combining codeine tablets with various toxic chemicals, including lighter fluid and industrial cleaners. This drug is extremely dangerous, and destroys the flesh, making it gangrenous and, in some cases, leading to amputation.

Recent reports have led to some skepticism about this drug being used in the Chicago area. No laboratory reports have confirmed the presence of “krokodil” in any of the patients seen in Chicago area hospitals (or anywhere else in the United States), and the Join Together website recently stated the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration does not believe that reports of the drug in the U.S. are valid.1

Being aware of the most recent trends in substance use is important, but it is also important to make sure information is accurate so people are not scared into thinking something is a problem.

Another current trend that is well documented and researched is the use of prescription opioid pain relievers among young people. Deaths from drug overdose have been rising steadily over the past two decades and have become the leading cause of injury and death in the United States.2 Among people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes.3 Drug overdose death rates have been rising since 1992, with a 102% increase from 1999-2010 alone. 4

These statistics are frightening, and although we have been focusing on the heroin epidemic, we also need to look at the overall problem with prescription opiates.  The majority of people we see at Linden Oaks who use heroin often start by using and abusing prescription pain medications.

If you are interested in learning more about preventing overdose deaths, please visit http://stopoverdoseil.org.  Over the past few years there has been a lot of information presented on new synthetic drugs, and sometimes it feels overwhelming to keep up with all the trends. I encourage everyone to stay abreast of this information and remember that awareness is important.

There are many resources through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that can be very helpful. For further information about Linden Oaks at Edward Addiction programming, contact me at bsack@edward.org.


  1. "Has 'Krokodil' Taken a Bite Out of Chicago?", (2013).  JRW Behavioral Health Services Chicago Lake Publications, October 2013. 
  2. "Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research", “WONDER” (2012). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Available from URL http://wonder.cdc.gov/mortsql.html.
  3. “WONDER” (2012).
  4. “WONDER” (2012).

Linden Oaks Receives Recognition from Romeoville and Bolingbrook School District

The Valley View School District in Romeoville and Bolingbrook, IL, recognized Linden Oaks at Edward Behavioral Health Hospital on February 24, 2014 for outstanding achievement in their schools.  Linden Oaks presented the SOS: Signs of Suicide Prevention Program to all eighth and nineth grade students throughout the Valley View School district in 30 days.

“Linden Oaks Behavioral Health has made a huge time commitment to our district by providing an in depth training program on a very important social emotional issue, suicide prevention”, noted Michele Bochnak, Valley View School District Community Outreach Coordinator at the ceremony.

This was the first year for the SOS Prevention program in the schools.  The school district decided to try the program after a school staff member discovered that the number of risk of harm assessments were on the rise in their students.  The district wanted to take a proactive stance through pre-emptive education and approached Linden Oaks about implementing the SOS Prevention Program.     

Katie Andersen, Linden Oaks community liaison and facilitator of the SOS Prevention Program, has reached approximately 1,500 students in Romeoville and Bolingbrook this year.  Through the student centric program she teaches students the signs of depression and how to address issues through the "Acknowledge, Care, and Tell" (ACT) approach.  She also serves on the district crisis team.     

“Linden Oaks is proud to accept this recognition and looks forward to collaborating with Valley View School District on student behavioral health initiatives in the future,” says Andersen.

Valley View Recognition


(From left) Amit Thaker, Linden Oaks at Edward Director of Marketing; Leroy Brown, Valley View Student, Staff, and School Safety Coordinator; Katie Andersen, Linden Oaks at Edward Community Liaison; Carie L. Johnstone, M.Ed, LCSW, Valley View Assistant Executive Director of Student Services





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801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

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