Working to stop opioid drug addiction

Dixon police chief shares progress of the Safe Passage Program

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - More than a hundred drug users have taken advantage of an Illinois program to get help for their problem and avoid going to prison.

Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti focused on the issue while visiting the Robert Young Center in Rock Island Monday.

She addressed ways to care for people fighting drug abuse and mental health issues.

One of them, the Safe Passage Program, was discussed with the Dixon Police Chief.

It lets people turn in drugs like heroin and get help without being prosecuted.

It started late last year.

Leaders say it's going well, but there's still lots of work to be done.

"We've got to gain the attention of state and federal lawmakers to make sure there's adequate funding for this treatment," said Dixon Police Chief Danny Langloss.

The Dixon Police Department participates in the Safe Passage Program.

It started last September, the state program allows opioid addicts to turn in their drugs and get treatment, without getting in trouble.

Chief Langloss says they've helped 160 people through the safe passage program.

"The program's completely voluntary, so if somebody doesn't want to stay in contact, they don't have to, but we have volunteers that do that. We know about 60 percent of the people are still sober today," said Langloss.

Langloss sits on a state opioid advisory council, and he says he's been trying to communicate that message to people like Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti.

She says she's traveled the state and found many of the main problems seem to be in rural areas.

"Someone who's having a mental health crisis doesn't need an emergency room bed, they need treatment. They need medication, and these are the issues that are coming up before our rural affairs council. That's why I was so thankful to be able to take this tour and find out what communities are doing, particularly this center," said Sanguinetti.

Sanguinetti toured the crisis stabilization unit at the Robert Young Center, which aims to help people with drug and mental issues.

She talked with a client who got hooked on drugs after taking pain killers for a workplace injury.

The Lt. Governor says over-prescription is one issue driving opioid addiction.

"He knew what doctors to shop for and he knew how many times he could go to the emergency room and continue to get those drugs. This is something that's facing Illinois. It's a big problem, we need to limit this availability," said Sanguinetti.

The Dixon police chief says they're helping other departments start their own Safe Passage Program

He says Rock Island County is currently in the planning stages.

Opioid overdoses increased significantly in Illinois.

Local 4 News is local for you with how that breaks down.

Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show deadly overdoses went up more than seven percent in Illinois between 2014 and 2015.

More than 18 hundred died from an O.D. in 2015.

Deadly drug overdoses rose 17 percent in Iowa during that same time.

A little more than 300 people died from an O.D. in Iowa.


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • If You Only Knew
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Holiday's For You Giveaway
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • QC Health Alert
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Consumer Connections
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Our QC Cares

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center