MADISON, Wis. -

City of Madison leaders on Tuesday received an update on how local agencies are handling the recent heroin epidemic.

The group Safe Communities gave a presentation at the Madison Common Council meeting. Its executive director said a huge part of reducing the number of injuries and overdoses starts with reducing access to medicines, especially opiates found at home.

Safe Communities said local agencies are slowly making progress.

"I think every indication is that we're making progress," said Cheryl Wittke, Safe Communities executive director. "And it's not something that's going to happen overnight in terms of reducing hospitalizations and overdoses, but we're certainly making progress."

Part of that progress includes the expansion of Med Drop boxes. Dane County leaders increased the number of boxes from four to 10, and the boxes have collected more than 5 tons of opiates.

The establishment of a Drug Poisoning Initiative Steering Team is also on the horizon. A target date for the first meeting is slated for October.