MADISON, Wis. (AP) -

The number of heroin-related deaths in Dane County continues to rise and police in the state's capital city say they continue to see crashes and impaired driving from people under the influence of drugs.

In response public health officials have started working with police and the medical community to try to make serious drugs harder to find.

The medical examiner's office tells the Wisconsin State Journal there have been at least 21 heroin-related deaths this year, compared to 20 last year.

Public health officials say there's an opiate epidemic in the region, due in part to the availability of prescription painkillers.

So they're asking doctors and dentists to re-examine their prescribing practices to look for ways to discourage abuse. Police also collect unused medication so it can be destroyed.