Glenview woman warns of heroin presence in village
P.J. Newberg (left) and her daughter Paula Nixon pose together in their home. Newberg says she. believes a heroin addition wave among teens exists in Glenview and is hosting a talk on the topic Aug. 14 at the Glenview Public Library.| Sun-Times Media
WHAT: public forum on teen heroin use in Glenview and Northbrook
WHERE: Glenview Public Library, 1930 Glenview Road
WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday
WHY: a parent believes an epidemic exists in the north suburbs
Updated: September 10, 2012 6:01AM
GLENVIEW — P. J. Newberg said she has seen and felt too much.
The lives of too many Glenview and Northbrook teenagers seriously scuttled by using heroin — in one case an overdose death.
“This is ridiculous. All the new addicts are young teens and kids around here,” said Newberg, a former certified counselor in drug and alcohol counseling, with a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from Chicago’s Northeastern Illinois University in 1988.
“Kids are not afraid of heroin these days,” the Glenview resident added.
Stepping forward, Newberg has scheduled an awareness meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Glenview Public Library, 1930 Glenview Road.
Titled “Learn About Heroin in our Community,” the forum hopes to change past notions of heroin use in the suburbs.
The goal, Newberg explained, was spreading information about a real problem.
“Heroin has become an epidemic in Cook County, while other counties like DuPage are offering forums.
“People in Glenview and other suburbs don’t believe it because of the stigma attached to heroin addiction,” she said.
Newberg’s daughter, Paula Nixon, was supposed to graduate in spring from Glenbrook South High School in Glenview, but instead landed in a drug rehabilitation center.
Her stays in rehabs and hospitals have been many since she took up injecting the opium narcotic in 2010, proceeding by cocaine and alcohol use.
But last year, two incidents showed Newberg how dangerous her daughter’s life of hard drug use had become.
In February 2011 unbeknown to Newberg, Nixon and her friend spent the night doing heroin in her Glenview bedroom on the 2100 block of Norwich Court.
In the morning, Nixon got ready for school at GBS, while the he prepared to leave the home.
Both agreed to each inject by hypodermic needle a bag of heroin before leaving, but the friend did his batch before Nixon could partake.
She walked into the bedroom.
“He had shot up already when I ran entered my bedroom. He started to seize and was foaming at the mouth. I called an ambulance and tried (cardiopulmonary resuscitation),” said a candid Nixon. “He was eventually revived.”
Through the Freedom of Information Act, the Glenview Announcements requested an arrest report on the incident.
However, a customer service coordinator for the village said although the friend was arrested as a 19-year-old, releasing the report would identify a juvenile witness at the scene, and the village could be charged with a misdemeanor. Illinois law defines a juvenile as under 18 years old.
A month earlier, Nixon lost her boyfriend, Dayne Poyser, who died of opiate intoxication, stated the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
On Jan. 22, Cook County Sheriff’s Police arrived at Poyser’s home in unincorporated Glenview at 10337 Dearlove Road.
Emergency responders found a syringe and a residued spoon under a couch where Poyser, 19, was sitting in a living room.
A brother in the house saw his mouth foaming, according to the sheriff’s report, and he called 911. Poyser was pronounced dead on arrival to Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview at 11:30 p.m.
“Heroin addiction is a living nightmare. It’s heart-wrenching to see these kids overdose and maybe die,” Newberg said, adding Poyser was a 2009 GBS graduate.
“He was my daughter’s first true love. She still thinks about him a lot.”
Next week, Nixon will attend the community forum.
“My boyfriend died and my friends have overdosed because of heroin. So many of my friends had close friends who have overdosed, too,” said Nixon, who earned her General Equivalency Diploma in May.
Nixon also has not done heroin since October 2011, she said.
“I go to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, work with my sponsor on the 12 steps and pray to God,” she said.
Nixon described the typical life of a suburban addict in supporting a hard drug habit — pawning items stolen from her parents, shoplifting from area malls and breaking into vehicles for cell phones, GPI systems or whatever.
“I stole my Dad’s wedding ring,” she admitted.
Nixon said young north suburban drug users looking to buy heroin often referred to Interstate 290 as “Heroin Highway,” leading to Chicago’s glaring West Side drug coridor.
“I drove there many times,” Nixon said.
At GBS, only Nixon’s friends knew she was using heroin, and she said the only anti-drug education students received was a 60-minute video on marijuana in sophomore health classes.
“All the video says is that pot is a gateway drug to harder stuff,” Nixon said.
However, the spokeswoman for Glenbrook School District 225 said in an email heroin use was covered in the health curriculum.
“In addition, one of our health teachers speaks to classes about her nephew’s fatal overdose … ,” said Karen Geddeis, adding healthy lifestyle choices were promoted in clubs and sports teams.
“For example, Student-to-Student is a group of kids dedicated to a drug and alcohol free lifestyle who conduct activities including Snowball, Red Ribbon Week and speaking at the local elementary and middle schools,” she wrote.
For individual students, District 225 offered the Student Assistance Program that trained students, staff and parents on warning signs of drug and alcohol abuse, Geddeis said.
“Once the school is aware of any health or safety issue, parents are notified, and our staff works closely with those at-risk to connect them with the community resources they need,” she said.
Two representatives from the Glenview Police Department will be at the Tuesday forum.