We are the Heroin Epidemic Relief Organization. Our mission is to stop the growing heroin epidemic that has rapidly swept across nation through our own programs and by supporting strategic pieces of legislation all while providing comfort and support to those who have lost a loved one to heroin or are currently helping a loved one who is struggling with this terrible disease.
HERO was founded by John Roberts and Brian Kirk after their two sons, Billy and Matt, were tragically taken from them while battling a heroin addiction. The Two Dads, as the local media took to calling them, set out to call attention to the heroin epidemic spreading throughout similarly affluent middle class communities, to connect with and build a support network of families who have also lost children to heroin, and to work to see the day when no parent has to experience the loss of a child to addiction again.
Our original mission was and still is to help the families of those who have lost a child to heroin. We plan to achieve this through a series of support programs and other programs that will stop the problem at its source. As our organization has grown and we've had the chance to meet more and more families within the community that have been personally affected by heroin and the devastating effects is has on not only the user but their family, friend, and society at large. Heroin abuse is not a private matter that only affects the user. This is a problem that affects society as a whole . We all bear the costs and consequences of heroin use in the form of economic and socioeconomic burdens that extend nationwide. The monetary costs and the raw effort exerted by community involvement prevention, treatment, and support programs through organizations like HERO are far less that what the current way of doing things is costing us.
With the help and support of people like you we are striving to create a movement that will combat the spread of heroin use across America one city at a time. Currently HERO is involved in planning several programs that will prevent heroin use, provide treatment for current users, and support the families affected by this growing epidemic.
Board of Directors
John co-founded HERO in 2010 after losing his son, Billy Roberts, to heroin. Turning his grief outward he decided to found HERO with the goal of helping families who have gone through similar situations with their own children. As the organization grew John added a focus on prevention and treatment in addition to the original goal of supporting the families of children lost to heroin. John is a retired Chicago Police Department Captain actively involved in heroin-related legislation in Illinois and lives with his family in Homer Glen, Illinois.
More about John
Brian Kirk is the other half of the founding members of HERO. Brian lost his son, Matt Kirk, to a heroin overdose around the same period as John. After meeting and becoming close friends, Brian and John founded HERO together to cope with the loss of their sons. Brian has been instrumental in getting HERO started and in organizing the inaugural event. Besides his involvement with HERO, Brian works at the University of Illinois at Chicago and resides in Homer Glen, Illinois.
Paul Lauridsen is currently working at Stepping Stones Treatment Center in Joliet Illinois and works closely with the Southwest Coalition Against Substance Abuse in addition to his work with HERO.
Bill Patrianakos is one of HERO's newest members and recently joined the board of directors. As a recovered addict, he is able to bring a unique perspective to HERO that only experience can provide. Bill's focus is on the development of HERO's first programs and developing a marketing strategy to bring HERO's message to a wider audience. He is currently the founder and lead programmer of Clever Web Design and currently lives in Joliet, Illinois.