Drug relates overdoses are on the rise, both in the Stateline and nationwide, with many experts saying the addiction is fueled by prescription opioids.
When a hospital patients comes in with an injury like a fracture or even chronic pain, doctors often prescribe them an opioid for relief. Doctors say these drugs are only given in certain situations.
"Cases where over the counter pain medications like Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Motrin may not be able to alleviate the patients pain enough" said OSF St. Anthony Emergency Physician Daniel Butterbach.
But with the rise in opioid-related overdose deaths in the state, doctors say they don't take it lightly when prescribing patients these drugs.
"One of the biggest problems with the opioid epidemic that we are seeing in this country is deciding when to prescribe and how much to prescribe," Butterbach says.
Experts say prescription opioids are considered addictive gateway drugs, leading some to move on to more dangerous opioids like heroin. There are not consistent guidelines or structure nationwide for dealing with opioid as prescriptions as of now.
"The biggest issue is providers are sort of all over the board with how they prescribe these medications," Butterbach says.
The Reverend Dan Herman, a volunteer for Hope Over Addiction in Rockford, hears many stories of addiction from family members who are currently dealing with the problem, or have lost someone due to an overdose. He says he sees how bad these drugs can actually be.
"The opioids are just so immediate, the addiction is so immediate to them, it is really frightening," Herman says. "It is really, there's no pattern and that's whats frustrating."
A frustrating and tragic epidemic, that's pushing a local hospital to find for a better plan for everyone to help get this crisis under control.