Rockford leaders join forces to tackle the growing heroin abuse problem in the region.
"I think what I feel is that was a waste of a life. Who knows what that person could have been," Winnebago County Coroner, Sue Fidducia said.
Fidducia speaks of those lives plagued with a drug that is quickly becoming the region's most used and most dangerous drug of choice, heroin.
"When you have over 900 overdoses on heroin alone in three years, that is a public health crisis of epic proportion," Illinois District 47 Representative Patti Bellock said.
Rockford area leaders met Monday, responding to what's called a growing heroin epidemic among Illinois' teens and young adults.
In Rockford, Winnebago County Deputy Chief Dominic Iasparro says like Chicago, where users flock to the city to deal or purchase their heroin, Rockford is becoming a drug hub in northern Illinois.
He says the problem is multifaceted.
"The families of those individuals who are involved with heroin, the medical facilities, the fire response, the loss from the crimes committed by people obtaining money to purchase heroin," He said.
Monday's meeting is the first adult task force meeting to tackle the epidemic.
Thirty-nine different Illinois legislators make the team. About eight were on the panel.
The hope is to listen for new solutions from different resources on how to tackle the issue.
Agencies ranging from the Rockford Fire Department to drug trafficking experts gave input.
"What we want to do here is get all the testimonies we can from around the state, compile that, and come up with an ominous bill that will hopefully take care of all of the problem. Not just one section of the problem," Illinois District 68 Rep. John Cabello said.