BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Law enforcement agencies and health centers in central Illinois are scrambling to address the opioid epidemic.

DeWitt County Sheriff Jered Shofner tells The Pantagraph newspaper ( ) that heroin is the area’s top public safety threat. Shofner’s office is among six agencies that make up the Illinois State Police Task Force 6 narcotics unit.

McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage says public education is key to fighting the surge of cases involving prescription drugs, which he says can be a path to heroin.

A Bloomington mental health crisis and detox center had to turn away 70 people with addictions in March, a recurring dilemma for the 14-bed facility.

Chestnut Health Systems is in the process of adding eight more beds to its crisis stabilization center for people experiencing a mental health or drug-related crisis.

Information from: The Pantagraph,

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