Dive deeper: New treatment clinics set to open as Wisconsin’s opioid crisis worsens | News

Madison plans to open a fifth medication-assisted recovery clinic to help people trying to stop using opioids.

Madison (WKOW)—Wisconsin’s opioid crisis is getting worse, with more people dying from overdoses each year.

In 2014, 628 people died from opioids in Wisconsin, according to state data. By 2021, that number will increase to 1,427.

One treatment for people who want to stop using opioids is drug recovery. It combines counseling with medications that reduce cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Madison has four drug recovery clinics, according to the state health department. But it will soon increase to five. Community Medical Services (CMS) will open a clinic at 4802 East Broadway near Stoughton Road and Beltline.

The clinic’s senior manager, Jaime Valeka, said staff are happy to treat anyone who walks through the door.

“We’re really focused on harm reduction,” she said. “We want to meet people where they are, and we want to help them on the recovery journey they’re looking for.”

The clinic is CMS’ first clinic in Madison. Andrea Manke, the company’s head of new market operations, said CMS is looking to open new locations in communities that need help.

“We’re following overdose deaths,” she said. “That’s one of the things we look at when we come to a new place, isn’t it? It’s a necessary area.”

He said Dane County fits the bill because overdose deaths are on the rise in the area.

Worsening opioid crisis

According to state data, 61 people died from opioid overdoses in Dane County in 2014, but that number rose to 139 by 2021.

27 News asked the Madison & Dane County Public Health Department how many opioid deaths there will be in the county in 2022. Authorities are still counting the totals, but epidemiologists said at least 109 people died from opioid-related overdoses.

Public Health Supervisor Julia Olsen said the number is likely to rise further as officials identify the cause of death for dozens of pending cases.

“We’re seeing more numbers than ever before in Dane County,” Olsen said.

This problem is not unique to Dane County. Communities across the United States are seeing record levels of opioid overdoses, and Manke said the increased presence of fentanyl is partly why.

“It’s an epidemic,” she said. “It’s a problem. It’s everywhere, it’s in everything.”

Olsen said fentanyl is so present that more people are using it whether they know it or not. As such, people are at increased risk of overdose.

“They may not “They may not be taking Narcan because they think they are at risk of overdosing or even a fatal overdose. We may not have the tools necessary to resuscitate a child,” Olsen said.

In addition to the risk of overdose, the presence of fentanyl in other drugs means more people experience opioid withdrawal when trying to stop using it, Olsen said. She said people who want to stop using cocaine usually won’t go through opioid withdrawal symptoms. But now many do.

She said these people needed more help in their recovery.

“Drugs change the chemistry and reactions of the brain,” says Olsen. “This is not something someone can easily stop on their own. They need resources.”

I hope the new clinic will help

CMS hopes to open the Madison Clinic in June. Hours are extended daily from 5am to 8pm. Valeka said this would remove barriers and make it easier for people to get treatment.

People who visit the clinic receive one of three drugs used to treat opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

You will also have regular meetings with your counselor.

“So you’re working on your triggers, working on the things that make you mentally want to use them,” Manke said.

Valeka said she hopes those who receive treatment at the clinic will also develop connections with the clinic’s staff.

“Nurses can also ask, ‘How was your day? How are you?'” Valeka says. “Once you join the company, you start building relationships with the people you meet every day.”

She said these relationships are key to the clinic’s mission because everyone it treats is human.

“We want people to live,” she said. “Mothers, sisters, brothers, children, we want them to live and live the lives they want.”

Resources for Opioid Treatment and Recovery

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services website has an extensive list of treatment and recovery resources. you can find them here.

DHS also provides advice on safer use of opioids for people who are not yet ready for treatment.

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