Madison County Coroner Joins Fight Against Heroin

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A panel of police, prosecutors and drug treatment experts shared the latest information on the battle against heroin in Madison County, Illinois.

The Madison County coroner also shared with the audience some disturbing numbers.

Stephen Nonn says the number of heroin overdose deaths went from 5 in 2008 to 18 in 2011.

'Those numbers are screaming that you`ve got a problem,' said Nonn.

Prosecutors believe they have one tool that might be working.

Heroin dealers can now be held accountable for a heroin death.

'Those people who supply the heroin and the heroin results in someone`s death can be prosecuted either at the state level or at the federal level,' said Steve Wigginton, U.S. Attorney Southern District for Illinois,

Madison County States Attorney Tom Gibbons said heroin has become such a serious problem that forums like the one on Wednesday are necessary to keep the public educated.

He said it`s hard to know how many high school students are using herion.

'If its one it`s too many because of how deadly and terrible the drug is,' said Gibbons.

Granite City police chief Richard Miller says heroin is readily available and relatively inexpensive.

'It seems like they are jumping all the other drugs and going right to this,' said Miller.  'It`s dangerous and deadly.'

Nonn said the coroner`s office had 3 heroin deaths on the first of the year and have yet to see one since then.  He hopes it`s a sign that education, drug treatment and enforcement efforts are working.

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