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Mon April 21, 2014

To acknowledge the importance of the work family groups do in efforts to stop the heroin epidemic, a formal recognition ceremony will be part of the 2014 Hero Helps Community Forum slated for Sat. May 17, 2014 at the Romeoville Athletic and Event Center.

The continued campaign to stop the rising use of heroin and overdose deaths is due in large part to the ongoing efforts by families to inform the community about the growing epidemic and work to change policies relating to prevention education and treatment.

 "The support of family is critical in the prevention, treatment, and ongoing recovery support of those dealing with addiction," said Paul Lauridsen, co-chair of the event. "Many of these family members have joined together to find both support from one another and strength to spread the message of hope for recovery."        

The HERO (Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization) Foundation was begun by John Roberts and Bryan Kirk after both men lost their sons to heroin overdose. The group has been influential in raising the awareness of the heroin epidemic and helping move legislation in the state of Illinois such as the Good Samaritan Act. The HERO Foundation will be part of this year's summit. 

 "We continue to work to encourage families trying to support a loved one who is addicted and comfort to families who have lost a loved one to heroin," said Roberts.

Kathleen Burke, president of Strategic Prevention, said it is important to recognize these grassroots organizations that many times are started by parents of addicted children.

"Our goal is to bring these groups together in hopes of finding ways they can work together and share resources," Burke said. "There are many families who are hurting and feel alone in dealing with a loved one's addiction. We want to recognize the strength of these groups who are finding their own voice."

Any family support group is encouraged to attend the May 17 event. In order to be part of the roll call, a group representative should contact Burke at

To register for this free summit or for more information, visit the website:

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