SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a series of community awareness events to kick off Project X, the aggressive campaign against the illegal drugs Ecstasy and Meth. The community forums are being held in the nine areas that are receiving funding for the initiative. The community forums will bring together community stakeholders, law enforcement, treatment providers and the public in an effort to crack down on the growing problem of these so-called club drugs.
“Meth and Ecstasy aren’t just a problem for law enforcement,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “Use of these drugs impacts the entire community and that’s why these forums are important. We’re increasing awareness and encouraging community involvement in an all out assault on the illegal sale and use of these dangerous drugs.”
Meth is made with common household items that may be purchased at many stores. Ingredients include anhydrous ammonia, ephedrine (found in cold and sinus medicine), lithium and others. Meth, which is made in makeshift laboratories, has already gained a foothold in rural Illinois.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Ecstasy is the most commonly used stimulant in Chicago. The popularity of Ecstasy in raves and dance clubs in cities is now moving into suburbs and rural areas.
U.S. Department of Justice statistics indicate more than six million children age 12 and under have tried Ecstasy at least once. Many of these club drugs users do not realize the serious health risks associated with these drugs. Short-term effects include increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. The user may experience a feeling of euphoria, impaired speech and loss of appetite. Long-term effects include severe dehydration, brain damage, heat exhaustion that can cause kidney and heart failure, paranoid behavior, stroke and even death.
Two community forums are scheduled for February 5 in Springfield and Champaign/Urbana. A forum will be held from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. at the studio theater of the Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois-Springfield. The event is sponsored by the Wells Center. The second event, to be held February 5 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Levis Faculty Center at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana, is sponsored by the Prairie Center.
Another forum is scheduled for February 13 at 6:00 p.m. at the Carbondale Civic Center. The event is sponsored by Southern Illinois Regional Social Services.
Project X is following a three-pronged approach using prevention, treatment and enforcement to stamp out the threat of Ecstasy and Meth use before it becomes an epidemic in Illinois.
Project X is geared toward the 18 to 25-year-old population. The initiative brings together law enforcement, colleges, universities and substance abuse treatment providers in the nine areas to fight the Meth and Ecstasy problem. The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA) is funding nine treatment providers in each of the Metropolitan Enforcement Groups (MEGs) established by the Illinois State Police.
The treatment providers will work with clinics and hospitals to provide intervention services for youth using club drugs. In severe cases, they’ll make referrals for further assessment and possible substance abuse treatment. The providers will develop a plan that best suits the community they serve.
“The forums are an opportunity for the treatment providers to provide education about the effects the drugs are having on the communities and to help parents prevent their children from experimenting with club drugs,” said DHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. “They will also serve as an opportunity for the provider to highlight what they plan to do with the funding they have received from DASA.”
The following is a list of the treatment providers and college or university for each task force area.
Task Force College/University Treatment Provider
1. Central Illinois Task Force University of Illinois/Springfield The Wells Center
2. DuPage County Metropolitan various sites Breaking Free
3. East Central Illinois Eastern Illinois University Central East
and Drug Council
4. Metropolitan Enforcement Group Southern Illinois University Cornell Interventions
5. North Central Narcotics Task Force Northern Illinois University Ben Gordon Center
6. Southern Illinois Enforcement Group Southern Illinois University Southern Illinois
7. Task Force 6 Illinois State University Chestnut Health
8. Task Force X University of Illinois/Urbana Prairie Center
9. West Central Illinois Task Force Western Illinois University Bridgeway