Not 'Those Peope,' Our Kids. - Letter to Editor

Not ‘Those People.’ Our Kids.

For families like ours who have lost a loved one to addiction, this summer has been very hard.

Haymarket Center, a well-respected treatment facility, wants to open a new location in Itasca to address the opioid crisis in DuPage County. We strongly support the project and it has been disappointing to see the intense community backlash. Every red sign is a reminder that our loved ones are gone. For people struggling with addiction and their families, the opposition has felt like a personal attack.

Having just gathered for Overdose Awareness Day with hundreds of our neighbors at a vigil in Bloomingdale, I can honestly tell you there is support for this project in our communities. But the stigma surrounding addiction is so pervasive and fear of retaliation is so great that people are afraid to come forward.

Those opposed say they know treatment is needed, but they don’t think Itasca is the right place. That’s what the residents in Wheaton said, too. And the next town, and the next town, and on and on. Let me share my personal experience. On Monday of this week, a young man sought my help getting into a drug rehabilitation center. He lived in Itasca and did not have private insurance. I made multiple inquires but the only place that had an open bed for him was Haymarket in Chicago. I can’t say for certain that this will be his last visit to a rehab facility but for now he is getting the treatment he needs.

This treatment center may not win the zoning change it seeks. But ultimately, we are the ones who will lose. It’s not ‘those people’ who are struggling to overcome addiction. It’s our sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, spouses, neighbors and friends. Without more help nearby, more people will die.

Felicia Micelli
President LTM Foundation