Opioid-related overdose deaths more than tripled in
Wisconsin in just ten years.
Federal and state elected officials met today in La
Crosse for a public health forum and among many topics.
opioid use dominated much of today's discussion.
News 8's Sarah Thamer was at the forum and joins us
now with the story.
More people in Wisconsin died from drug overdoses
than motor vehicle crashes in 2014.
And opioids contributed to 47-percent of the
8-hundred and forty three drug overdoses that same
At today's public health forum.
officials discussed various policies and procedures
that would go into decreasing the use of opioids in
We're in an epidemic in Wisconsin.
It's a dose of reality in the state.
Opioid abuse, continues to be a problem.
This is not just a drug that's taken in the back alley.
Because Opiods are synthetic chemicals used to help
reduce physical pain.
And that, may be part of the problem.
Doctors were really pressured by the Center for Disease
Control and society to treat pain and treat pain in
a better way and in a faster way.
And what was thought to be an easy fix, quickly backfired.
The problem is that opioids are incredibly addictive
and patients weren't always given that warning about
the incredible addictiveness.
But Wisconsin state officials are trying to do something
about this alarming epidemic.
Opioid roundtable discussions, we've held six different
listening sessions around the district, getting ideas
from law enforcement, from the courts, from folks
in the treatment environment.
A forum aimed at dicussing a variety of state-wide
and local public health policies, was heavily focused
on taking action when it comes to issues that affect
And drugs, were at the top of the list for state officials.
It's looking at national databases, we have a state
prescription drug monitoring program, a national database
has been brought to my attention also the need for
regional treatment centers, sometimes in rural Wisconsin
treatment is very difficult and it is a far distance
away from a community of support, also transitional
housing for folks who are trying to get clean, and
that can take upwards of a year, a year and a half,
and to make sure that there is affordable transitional
housing for folks so that they can continue their
Officials also said it's important to start treating
addiction as a disease in order to provide the right
treatments for those who are ready to seek help.
Governor Walker created the Governor's Task Force
On Opioid Abuse last month.
The task force is aimed to help end misuse and abuse
of opioids in Wisconsin.