11 Steps To Combat The Opioid Crisis

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DHS announces #HopeActLiveWI campaign

State health officials say there’s hope that the death and disability from the misuse and abuse of opioids can be reduced through actions everyone can take to save lives. 

Hope: Five steps to protect health and safety.

Act: Four steps to limit the impact of addiction and overdoses on individuals, families, and communities. 

Live: Two steps to create a path toward wellness. 

In a public health advisory (PDF, 44 KB) issued in September, State Health Officer Karen McKeown noted that opioid-related overdose deaths more than tripled in Wisconsin from 194 deaths in 2003 to 622 deaths in 2014. They are now the leading cause of injury deaths in Wisconsin. Prescription opioid pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone contributed to about one-half of the total drug overdose deaths, and heroin contributed to about one-third.

With the support of Governor Walker and the legislature, the Department of Health Services and its state and local partners are taking steps to address this epidemic, including the opening of three regional treatment programs serving high-need areas in northern Wisconsin and a standing order allowing naloxone to be dispensed without individual prescriptions. Federal grants are funding efforts to improve prescribing practices, expand prevention activities, and increase access to treatment. 

In September, Governor Walker created the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse to further the work already underway on this issue. The next meeting of the task force is November 22 in Weston.

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