The Highland Park family is about to see two initiatives backed by the Jordan Michael Filler Foundation take root in some Highland Park and Deerfield schools.
"Hopefully by now, everyone recognizes this is not just an inner-city thing," said Mark Filler, noting that there were 73 drug-related deaths last year in Lake County, about half of which were from heroin use. "It is in our neighborhoods and in our schools."
As a result of their efforts, a Text-a-Tip program will be introduced in March in schools in Highland Park, Deerfield and Bannockburn. First launched in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff by LEAD, which stands for Linking Efforts Against Drugs, the text service provides young people an anonymous means to intervene in a friend's drug problem. Tipsters are able to send a text communication to a dedicated number and receive a response from a counselor affiliated with the Child, Adolescent and Family Recovery Center in Lake Bluff.
The professionals manning the service are experienced in drug and mental health issues and familiar with resources in the immediate area.
"We know that friends always know what is going on way before the parents," said Filler. "Kids know who is selling drugs in the schools. They know who is seriously using."
Selected schools in North Shore District 112 and Deerfield District 109 also will be initiating the Botvin LifeSkills program in fifth grade this spring, to help youngsters make sound decisions when drugs enter the picture.The Filler Foundation is paying about one half of the cost of both initiatives.
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