#HopeActLiveWI: Responding to Wisconsin's Opioid Crisis

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#HopeActLiveWI: Responding to Wisconsin's Opioid Crisis

Paul Krupski

Staying Hopeful

We all agree that one overdose death is one too many, but when a state and a nation is plagued with an epidemic of overdose deaths, it might be easy for people to view the fight as a hopeless cause. Let me assure you that there are silver linings and reasons for hope. 

Last year,10,626 people were served by the 18 opioid treatment programs in Wisconsin.That's an increase of 770 from the year before. It's a hopeful sign that more people are seeking help for opioid abuse and that there are providers available to help them. 

Since our last newsletter, DHS has awarded $2.4 million to increase access for opioid treatment in 17 counties and four tribes in high-need areas. Also, nine local health departments have been awarded $77,000 to help support local opioid harm prevention activities. And soon doctors in all parts of the state will have access to an addiction medicine consultation line to help treat patients with complex needs.

Thanks to a grant from the CDC, DHS is providing technical assistance to local health departments and tribal health clinics that helps them use data to show the impact of the opioid epidemic on their communities, as well as tools to help forge community partnerships in the fight against opioid abuse. This effort complements our long-standing network of over 100 community coalitions focused on preventing all forms of substance abuse among all ages. 

April's Drug Take-Back Day brought in 33 tons of unused and unwanted medications. That's tens of thousands of pounds of medications that won't get into the hands of someone who could misuse them. In addition, DHS joined with our partners at the Department of Justice to unveil targeted campaigns for tribal communities and veterans. 

There are many reasons to be hopeful that Wisconsin is winning the fight to end the opioid overdose epidemic. I'm always interested in hearing what your community is doing toward that effort, so feel free to email me with any comments or suggestions.  

A "Dose of Reality" for Tribal Communities and Veterans


Nonmedical use of opioids is two to three times greater among Native American youth than with other ethnic groups. On June 1, Paul Krupski, DHS Director of Opioid Initiatives, joined Attorney General Brad Schimel at Marshfield Clinic to announce a new Dose of Reality campaign that targets young tribal members and their families. In addition, DHS has partnered with DOJ for another Dose of Reality campaign with materials for service members and veterans

Download these free materials to share with your community.

Native American Materials

 Service Member/Veterans Materials

Tribal-State Policy Academy to Develop Plan to Address Opioid Crisis


To enhance the work already underway to address the opioid crisis for the state's eleven tribes and their members, a delegation from Wisconsin is headed to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in August for the Tribal-State Policy Academy organized by the federal SAMHSA. Wisconsin was one of 16 states to be invited to take part.The delegation includes tribal representatives, a legislator, a representative from the state's provider network, an expert in recovery support services, and several DHS staff. 

Providers: Join our Learning Loop


Free videoconferences are held the third Friday of every month from 12:30-1:30 p.m. for doctors and advanced nurse prescribers. Participants learn new skills in how to identify, treat, and support patients with an opioid use disorder. Continuing education credits are available. Learn more about the Wisconsin Opioid Project ECHO.

New Reports


Annual Wisconsin Death Report, 2016
The age-adjusted rates of drug overdose deaths increased 72% from 2007 to 2016. Both illicit and prescription drug deaths are contributing to this epidemic.

Report on Opioid Treatment Programs in Wisconsin, 2017
In 2017, there were 18 clinics in Wisconsin that met the definition of an opioid treatment program under federal regulations. These programs serves 10,626 in 2017. 

Opioid Treatment Programs, 2018 Report to the Legislature
The three regional opioid treatment efforts in northern Wisconsin that received grants under a 2014 state law treated 475 people in 2017. The majority of patients in each program were treated for opioids other than heroin. 

Legendary Wisconsin Sportscaster Lends His Voice and Signature Phrase to the Opioid Prevention Efforts


Wayne Larivee, legendary Wisconsin sports broadcaster, is lending his voice to encourage fans to learn how to prevent opioid misuse. Listen for his public service announcements coming soon to pro baseball and football game broadcasts, and let's put a dagger in opioid misuse! (Photo courtesy of WTMJ Radio, Milwaukee)

Drug Take Back

Any Day Can be a Drug Take-Back Day!

 Another Take-Back Day is scheduled for October 28, 2018, but you don't have to wait to get rid of the drugs you no longer want around the house. Find a drop off site near you, and dispose of them safely.   

Who Should Get Naloxone?

Maybe your partner is on an opioid for chronic pain. Maybe you have a child misusing opioids. Perhaps you are a caregiver of someone who might accidentally forget how many pills they've taken or take opioids too close together. For all these reasons, and others, having naloxone on hand is a smart decision. Find where naloxone is available near you.  Also, outpatient mental health and substance use disorder clinics may wish to store and administer naloxone in emergencies. See DHS guidance and standards that affect administration

Celebrate Recovery


Make plans to join DHS in celebrating National Recovery Month in September. It's a time to increase awareness and understanding of substance use disorders and mental health conditions and to celebrate with people in recovery. Wisconsin Voices for Recovery, with support from DHS, is sponsoring the Rally for Recovery on Saturday, September 22, 2018, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the state Capitol. It is a free event and everyone is welcome. 

Did You Miss the Opioid Forum?

Archived webcasts from the 2018 Opioid Forum are now available. View the keynote presentations and selected workshops. This event was held in Milwaukee April 11-12. 

Meetings and Events


July 13: Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse, Madison

July 24: Opioid Symposium: Toward a Comprehensive Model of Care for Pregnant Women with Opioid Use Disorder for county and municipal local health department staff, Madison. 

August 7-9: Wisconsin Drug Endangered Children Conference, Rothschild  

August 23-24: Hope Consortium Conference, Lac du Flambeau

#HopeActLiveWI: Responding to Wisconsin's Opioid Crisis is published quarterly by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Please share this newsletter and encourage your colleagues to sign up to receive it. You can also follow #HopeActLiveWI on Facebook and Twitter. Join the conversation!