ROCKFORD (WIFR) – More than 120 people died from drug overdoses in Winnebago County last year and while there are multiple agencies trying to save lives, there doesn’t appear to be a leader in the fight. Now, a local group wants to make sure the Stateline’s anti-drug abuse organizations are delivering the same message.
Drug abuse is a serious problem in the Stateline and local prevention groups say they want to do more to help by joining forces.
“There’s strength in numbers, so if we’re all out there toting about what we’re doing to protect people in our community, the word is getting out there.”
Chris Greenwood with the City of Rockford says it’s important for agencies like the Winnebago County Health Department, police officers, and District 205 to combine their efforts. He says they all have the same goal to prevent drug and alcohol abuse by teaching kids about prescription pills, heroin and alcohol.
Kristina Olsen, a prevention specialist for Rosecrance, says she hopes together these coalitions can keep abuse programs in local schools.
"If we come together and stream line the process and you know have a voice together, maybe we can convince the schools how important it really is,” said Olsen.
So far, Greenwood says the Rockford Alcohol-Free Teens Coalition has helped reduce the local underage drinking rate by 4% through abuse education.
The Boone County drug prevention hopes to reduce drug and alcohol abuse as well. The group is hosting a town hall meeting right now about underage drinking and drug abuse. It will go until 7:30 at the Belvidere Community Building.