President Obama's final State of the Union address on January 12th marked the second anniversary of Jordan's death. We attended the address together -- as a father who lost his son to heroin and set out trying to help families avoid this tragedy, and as a U.S. Senator who has seen too many constituents devastated by the heroin epidemic and is working to make lifesaving treatments more accessible.
We took the opportunity to share Jordan's story and shine a spotlight on the message that heroin is not just an inner-city problem -- it is affecting sons and daughters and parents of all ages in small towns and big cities across the country. Addiction is a medical disease, not a moral weakness or a lack of willpower. Understanding addiction is key to reducing the stigma and providing treatment options for those who are suffering.
More than 246,000 Illinois residents, including 35,000 teens aged 12-17, needed treatment for illegal drug use in 2014. That is why we are working together to spread awareness and share these stories with other families who are struggling to beat addiction.
After Jordan's passing, the Filler family started the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation to work with local schools and communities to protect other children and families from the dangers of heroin and drug addiction. One thing that unites us is the important role the medication naloxone plays in saving lives by reversing the effects of opioids and stopping an overdose. DuPage County police officers have reported saving over one hundred lives from overdose during the past three years when naloxone is administered, and many Illinois counties are expanding the use of naloxone by first responders.
Read the entire article at the Daily Herald.