Gateway Featured in ABC News Segment: “Fentanyl deaths spike in Chicago area”

Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers was featured in an ABC News segment addressing the spike in fentanyl deaths in the Chicago area. According to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, more than 100 deaths last year were attributed to new varieties of fentanyl.

Gateway is here to help individuals struggling with opioid addiction by offering customized treatment plans and providing highly qualified substance abuse specialists.


Photo Credit: ABC News



Chicago area public health officials are grappling with an increase in deaths due to overdoses of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.


Photo Credit: ABC News

On Monday, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office reported a sharp increase in fentanyl-related deaths. They join officials in Will and DuPage counties who are also troubled by more overdoses related to strong new batches of fentanyl.

Now, a new FBI campaign hopes to education people about the threat.

Fentanyl is a drug commonly used for surgeries and post-operative care. The drug is in the family of opioids, which includes morphine and heroin.

At Gateway Treatment Centers in Naperville, patient service representatives take calls around the clock. Most of their concerns are opioid addiction.

“We know treatment works, but if we can’t get people to treatment it’s really hard to help them change their behavior as well as their use of medicines,” said Jim Scarpace, executive director of Gateway Aurora.

Making the heroin epidemic worse is the use of synthetic drugs such as fentanyl.

“Fentanyl is something that we use during surgery or during procedures,” said Dr. Steven Aks, of Stroger Hospital of Cook County. “It’s routinely used in the hospital every day. It is an ultra-potent pain medication.”

Staff at Stroger Hospital of Cook County in Chicago also have seen increases in fentanyl overdoses – some of them fatal.

More than 100 deaths last year are attributed to new varieties of fentanyl, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

“We really started seeing a big spike back in September. We had one day where we had nine victims come in at once,” Aks said.

Efforts to prevent opioid use now coming from a partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

The federal agencies will premiere their new documentary in the Chicago area at Westmont High School on Wednesday.

WATCH: Clips of FBI/DEA documentary about opiate addiction

However, John Roberts – whose son Billy Roberts died of a heroin overdose — worries that new, powerful illegal opioids will lead to more grieving families.

“If anybody were to take a pure dose of fentanyl, it would kill them on the spot,” Roberts said.

After Billy Roberts died seven years ago, his father started Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization (H.E.R.O).

“Until I join my little boy, I will fight this battle until that day,” Roberts said.

Treatment experts suspect those using heroin may mistake fentanyl as heroin, but the drug is much more powerful and can take several does of the antidote to revive a patient.

Anyone concerned about a loved one can now be trained and get naloxone from a pharmacy or recovery advocacy organizations.

H.E.R.O. is hosting an event on April 29 at Edwards Hospital in Naperville.

Source: ABC News

Are you concerned a loved one may be addicted to opioids? Learn more about prescription drug abuse online at or call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers for a free consultation at 877-505-HOPE (4673).


DuPage County Panel Says Naloxone Offers Hope for Heroin Overdose Epidemic

Jim Scarpace, Executive Director at Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Aurora, speaks about heroin abuse and the overdose drug, naloxone.

Jim Scarpace, Executive Director at Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Aurora, speaks about heroin abuse and the overdose drug, naloxone.

As Chicagoland suburbs continue to combat an onslaught of lethal heroin overdoses, those close to the issue are making a concerted effort to educate area professionals and residents about potential solutions. Earlier this week, Gateway Foundation’s Jim Scarpace joined community leaders in a round-table discussion put together by U.S. Rep. Bill Foster’s office to talk about naloxone, known as the heroin overdose anecdote drug, and how it could be used to fight DuPage County’ overdose epidemic.

A life-saving substance administered by syringe or inhaled, naloxone is an opioid marketed under the brand name Narcan. Panelists unanimously agreed: naloxone saves lives, and it needs to be put into the hands of people positioned to use it for that purpose.

Gateway’s Jim Scarpace explained to participants that naloxone does not create a high and is not addictive. It works to reverse the effects of overdoses on all drugs classified as opioids – this includes heroin and some types of prescription pain medications, such as OxyContin and Percocet.

“Most people aren’t aware of naloxone, and what it can do,” said Jim Scarpace, executive director, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment in Aurora. “However, access is not easily gained by some people.”

But progress is being made here in Illinois. Naloxone is not available in every state; only 17 states (including Illinois) and District of Columbia have passed laws to distribute it. Furthermore, among these states, Illinois is one of 10 that allow for third parties, such as a family member or friend of an intravenous drug user, to be prescribed naloxone.

Learn more about naloxone and how Illinois legislation is addressing the heroin epidemic.

Other topics discussed include:

  • The Good Samaritan Law, which is passed in Illinois, is intended to encourage bystanders to seek medical help for overdose victims. The bystander who calls 911 or seeks medical help will receive immunity from criminal charges for drug possession (except for marijuana). The overdose victim is protected, too.
  • Issues about naloxone accessibility and whether it should be an over-the-counter drug.
  • Medication available to aid in treating heroin addiction.

Held at the Yellow Box Christian Community Church in Naperville, the round table is one in a series of events organized by Congressman Foster to galvanize community leaders and concerned residents to address the uptick in heroin overdoses. Participating organizations and individuals include: Beacon-News Columnist Denise Crosby; DuPage County Health Department; DuPage Metropolitan Group; Gateway Foundation; Naperville resident Karen Hanneman whose son Justin Tokar died of a heroin overdose in 2011; and Yellow Box Community Christian Church.

Make yourself part of the solution to the heroin epidemic. Create greater awareness to reverse the disconcerting heroin trends impacting our communities. Learn more at

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