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Opioid Education Trailer On Journey Makes Local Stop

By Stephanie Malench, Reporter

The Prescription Abuse Leadership Initiative (RALI) in partnership with Code 3 brought the RALI CARES Hope Trailer to Collinsville on Friday, October 12.  Two trailers, one decorated as a teenage girl’s bedroom and the other as a teenage boy’s bedroom have been traveling the country since March of this year with retired highway patrol officer pairs made up of husbands and wives or work partners.

Carrie and Dave Padgett were the operator/guides of this trailer and members of Code 3, an association devoted to helping cops and citizens understand each other and give them the tools and resources needed to address emerging issues such as prescription drug addiction. 

Dave is retired from the California State Highway Patrol and was frequently called out of overdoes cases.  His wife had a family member die of a heroin overdose.

In 2017, there were more than 15 per 100,000 opioid related deaths in Illinois.  Nationwide, over 70,000 teens or young adults lost their lives due to opioid addiction. That comes to over 130 each day.  Addiction can take place as early as 5 days after legitimate use for an injury.

The goal of the trailer is to educate parents, caregivers, and community leaders about the signs of opioid and other prescription rug abuse and addiction based on what parents said they knew and wish they knew after it was too late. 

Whereas all types of alcohol (beer, wine, hard liquors such as vodka or rum) effect the body the same way, different prescription drugs have different effects on the body.

Common indicators include empty packaging of insulin needles when no one in the house is diabetic, prescription medicine bottles with the labels scraped off, small pieces of aluminum foil with brown residue in the bathroom or bedroom, shoes missing their laces, empty gel caps, lighters, spoons with soot marks in the bed or bathroom, missing ends of cotton swabs.

Personal safes disguised as every day items such as soda cans or water bottles, or scales disguised as calculators or computer mice.  Anything with a battery compartment can be a hiding place.

Physical symptoms include rapid weight loss, increased fatigue, unexplained absences from school or events and a new set of friends.

Because pain medications can lead to constipation, the teen’s medicine cabinet might have open bottles of both laxatives and anti-diarrheal medication that are alternated if too much of one is taken.

Sometimes a teenager might have a habit of forgetting their car keys or other important things yet always have a fanny pack or other type of pouch with them.  This pouch is known as a “Works Kit”, and contains a heat source, tourniquet, cut off straw, and scraps of paper or foil.

Between 15 and 18 people, including State Representative Katie Stewart and State Senator Rachelle Aud Crowe attended.

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