ROCK ISLAND COUNTY, Ill. (KWQC) - Law enforcement officials in Rock Island County are working to combat a recent increase in opiate overdose deaths. The Rock Island County Sheriff's Office and several local police departments are partnering with local treatment centers to offer addicts the help they deserve. The program is called "Safe Passage" and has proven to be successful in other parts of the QCA. Lee and Whiteside counties have also adopted the initiative. Safe Passage allows anyone seeking help from an opioid addiction to walk into the sheriff's office or any local police department and ask for help with the grantee of not getting arrested. Dixon Police Chief, Dan Langloss said timing can be critical.
"There's a 12-24 hour period when somebody wants help between the time somebody's used last and the time they'll become incredibly sick," Langloss said. "We've got to be able to capture that moment."
According to the Rock Island County coroner, 21 people have died due to opiate overdoses in the last year. Of that number, the majority were due to heroin and seven were fentanyl-related. Safe Passage pairs anyone seeking help with a volunteer to help guide them through the recovery process. A press conference will be held on Tuesday, January 30 at 11:00 a.m. at the Rock Island County Justice Center to officially implement the Safe Passage program.