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ST. LOUIS (AP) - A southwestern Illinois county that has grappled with heroin deaths is trying a new approach after there were three deadly suspected overdoses in a five-hour span last week.

Madison County Sheriff Bob Hertz says he'll be joining the county's top prosecutor, Tom Gibbons, to convene a panel to talk out possible answers to the problem. It could be as early as next week. Hertz says that group may include substance-abuse treatment providers, educators and perhaps addicts.

The county's coroner, Steve Nonn, says his office already has handled six suspected heroin deaths this year. Last year, there were 23 in the county, more than three times the number in 2009.

Nonn calls heroin providers "dealers in death."

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