Chelsa Laliberte is from Live4Lali, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the growing drug abuse epidemic.
We had a good turnout during the Mount Prospect block party this Saturday.  We went through all nine cartons of cotton candy mix and at least 500 cones.  We just about broke even with the donations received matching the cost of the cotton candy machine, but the kids (of all ages) enjoyed getting a nice sugar rush.  A big thanks to Kathy Nowicki who organized the event for us.  She did everything from finding volunteers, picking up the machine, cleaning the machine afterwards, and returning it.  She had a long and sticky day, to be sure!
Our speaker today was Chelsa Laliberte from Live4Lali, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing individuals, families, communities and organizations with awareness of the growing drug abuse epidemic and the importance of addressing mental health issues with compassion and concern to reduce the overwhelming stigma perpetuating this national problem. Chelsea co-founded the organization after her brother died of a opiate overdose in 2008.  His family never realized he was using drugs. 
Heroin use is expanding tremendously throughout the nation, but especially in Chicago and its suburbs.  Kids are often first exposed to opiates through perscription pain medications such as oxycontin.  Although doctor's use more stringent criteria when prescribing these drugs now, recently, they routinely gave patients thirty-day scripts which could lead to the beginnings of addiction.  When pills were no longer sufficient to provide the desired high due to increased tolerance and/or lack of availability, addicts switch to heroin. 
The statistics are shocking.  There are 204 overdose deaths each day in America.  That is more deaths than are caused by auto accidents.  There is one heroin overdose death every three days in Illinois.  This is despite the fact that police officers are increasingly being trained with and issued naloxone, a drug designed to counteract the effects of opiates, particularly during an overdose.