In 2008, 31 people died. In December alone seven people were killed, with another person having died on the last day of November.
On Thursday night the Buffalo Grove School Safety Partnership, a cooperation between Buffalo Grove and Stevenson high schools, held a community forum to discuss drug abuse in high schools.
The event, held at the Alcott Center in Buffalo Grove, featured speakers from the Lake County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, which is the regional drug task force, the Lake County Coroner's Office, the Lake County State's Attorney's Office, and the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory.
The forum focused on heroin addiction. Coroner Richard Keller said there has been a string of heroin-related deaths around Lincolnshire during the last few years. Speakers urged parents to be aware of the prevalence of drug use among teenagers and to monitor their children.
Susan Fitzgerald, from the Lake County State's Attorney's Office said parents have to be watchful because commonly used drug paraphernalia is often typical household items, including plastic bags.
"Watch what is in your cabinet, watch what your kids are doing," Fitzgerald said.
She added parents should be aware of changes in kids' habits, including grades, friends and extracurricular activity participation.
Fitzgerald said parents cannot be afraid to offend their children and need to check their kids' text messages and computers.
Jody Ditchman and Gary Laliberte were in attendance with their daughter, Chelsea. Their son, Alex, died of a heroin overdose in December. Ditchman and Laliberte both addressed the crowd.
"The thing I struggle with every day are the things I should have done," Laliberte said. "If I did my baby would still be here."