Rock Island County launches program to counter opioid crisis

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) — Law enforcement officers in one western Illinois county have launched a program allowing people to come to law enforcement to get help with an opioid problem.

The Rock Island Argus reports that Rock Island County’s law enforcement launched the Safe Passage program, based on one started by police in Dixon. Under the program officers or deputies won’t arrest those seeking help and they won’t face prosecution. Authorities instead will try to connect them with drug treatment programs. They can turn in drugs or drug paraphernalia and it will be destroyed.

Participating agencies include those in Rock Island, Moline, East Moline, Silvis and Milan. Authorities say Rock Island County has had 64 opioid abuse deaths since 2011. There were 21 deaths in the county last year.