by Katlin Connin, WSBT 22 Reporter

Nearly 20 people have died in Elkhart County this year from drug overdoses.

Prosecutor Vicki Becker wants to do something about the opioid epidemic in her community.

She’s formed a partnership to combat distribution.

Becker says it’s time to protect Elkhart families from deadly drugs. She says she’ll get users help and show no mercy to dealers.

Becker says it’s not too late to have an impact on the community.

“Our community, just like so many other communities, has suffered through the consequences of drug addiction drug abuse and drug distribution,” she said.

That’s why Becker is partnering with federal, state and local law enforcement to tackle the opioid epidemic. She’s also helped beef up the Intelligence and Covert Enforcement Unit to go after distribution networks.

“We are working towards solutions and that only happens through this kind of a partnership and through this kind of information sharing,” Becker said.

This year alone, 19 people have died from overdoses in Elkhart County. Eight of those from heroin.

Becker has filed charges in about 30 cases for heroin.

“We’re not just here to put you in jail we are here for an intervention purpose as well,” she said.

That’s why she’s partnering with the County’s Drug Free Partnership and Guido’s Purple Shamrocks to find avenues to treatment.

“it’s absolutely imperative. You’ve heard many County sheriffs say we’re not going to arrest our way out of this. As we start to uphold these laws on prescription drugs and heroin use we have to answer those problems that reoccur with treatment,” said Sam Callantine with Guido’s Purple Shamrocks.

Callantine lost his brother to a heroin overdose last year and wants to prevent other families from suffering the same heartbreak.

Becker says the dealers also need to be dealt with.

Read more at WSBT

Elkhart County Prosecutor looks to combat the opioid epidemic