For Michael Shah of the Drug Enforcement Agency, children should have no expectation of privacy. That’s an especially important attitude for parents worried about their kids using heroin.
During a speech before the Madison County heroin task force in Edwardsville on Friday, Shah said that parents shouldn’t be shy about looking through their children’s stuff – including their cars or their dirty clothes. Anything, he said, to detect heroin use as early as possible.
A federal court in Illinois has rejected a plea agreement that would have sent former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook to prison for 18 months on drug and weapons charges.
Judge Joe McDade, who normally presides over federal cases in Peoria, Ill., told attorneys for both sides today that he did not believe the proposed sentence was long enough to assure St. Clair County residents that their judiciary was in good hands. McDade was assigned to the case after two judges from the Southern District recused themselves.
Experts who study drug trends say the presumed fatal heroin overdose of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman shines the spotlight anew on the need for society to come to grips with widespread heroin abuse across the nation and in St. Louis.
Among those who have studied the issue is Theodore “Ted” Cicero, a professor in neuropharmacology in psychiatry at Washington University Medical School. He has tracked patient trends in 150 drug treatment facilities nationwide for more than seven years.
Federal prosecutors say a southwestern Illinois man who admitted to trafficking heroin supplied the narcotic almost daily to a former judge now facing drug and weapons charges.
Thirty-four-year-old Sean McGilvery of Belleville pleaded guilty to heroin conspiracy and possession Thursday in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis. Prosecutors say Michael Cook was a St. Clair County circuit judge when he got heroin from McGilvery "on an almost daily basis."
For the past year, St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch and community organizations have held nearly two dozen town hall meetings to raise awareness of the heroin epidemic. Deaths from heroin overdoses continue to decline, but officials say they are seeing an uptick in some age groups.
Through September of this year there have been 45 heroin deaths in St. Louis County, that’s compared to 55 last year.
St. Louis Public Radio’s Julie Bierach sat down with Chief Fitch to talk about their efforts to go after heroin suppliers.
Quinn to announce plan to address Illinois' drought
Gov. Pat Quinn plans a visit to a southern Illinois farm today. The Illinois Farm Bureau says that so far, it's the sixth driest year on record. The average precipitation of the first half of the year was 12.6 inches. Much of Illinois' corn and soybean crop is suffering. Farm officials say southern Illinois is experiencing the worst of it. Quinn is expected to detail whatever government relief may be available to drought-affected growers and ranchers.