NORRISTOWN Increase public awareness of heroin's dangers. Collect more data on overdoses and opiate-related deaths. Fund a halfway house and the salaries of one or more recovery specialists to help people struggling with addiction.

Those are just a few of the recommendations released Monday from the Montgomery County Overdose Task Force, which was created in November to address the county's increasing number of opiate-related deaths.

Other recommendations include streamlining efforts between police, ambulance crews and hospitals to more quickly respond to overdoses as well as develop a uniform protocol to report analyze the overdoses. The task force also recommended that the county continue to utilize its drug court to make sure that users get help and to ramp up its collection of unused prescription drugs, which are often the gateway to heroin addiction.

The task force, composed of officials from the county, local police departments, and the medical community, will reconvene in early fall.

"The real work is going to come when we go forward and try to implement these recommendations," Abington Police Chief William Kelly said Monday at a news conference unveiling the task force's first preliminary report. - Ben Finley