The Beaver Dam Daily Citizen reports that Dodge County, Wisconsin is undertaking new efforts to offer treatment solutions for opiate addiction. This includes addiction treatment for all opiates, which includes both heroin and prescription painkillers. The problem of opiate addiction and abuse here highlights some things about the nation as a whole: how addicts have seamlessly transferred from painkillers to heroin, and the need for proper addiction treatment services to combat this epidemic problem.
Opiate Addiction in Wisconsin
The problem of opiate addiction in Dodge County is part of the larger problem of opiate addiction in the whole state of Wisconsin — and that is part of the even large problem of painkiller abuse across the whole country.
Wisconsin has not been immune to the plague of painkiller abuse that has swept the nation. Statewide, marijuana and cocaine are still first and second among the primary admissions into Wisconsin drug rehabs. However, painkillers are closely behind cocaine at #3, and they are catching up to marijuana as well. In fact, from 2007-2008 WI ranked among the top states in the country for non-medical use of painkillers.
In Dodge County, opiate addiction is especially bad. According to the Daily Citizen, opiates are directly responsible for dozens of deaths and a 170% increase in cases of child abuse and neglect. The particular opiate that is responsible is heroin. However, heroin addiction didn’t simply come from nowhere. It came from oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and Tylenol 3 (which contains the opiate codeine) — a rising tide of painkiller abuse, just like the rest of the country.
In Dodge County, it’s not law enforcement or regulation that are wanting. It’s prevention. So, the new plan to combat opiate addiction aims to prevent it through education, awareness, and most importantly: increasing access to addiction treatment. The availability of addiction treatment specialists and counselors will double. This is key. As those who have experienced addiction know, addiction treatment is a race against time. Every day without treatment is a day the addict is driven more into addiction.
Time will tell the fruits of the state’s efforts at providing treatment for opiate addiction in Wisconsin. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and with the hope that all opiate addicts can find a treatment center today.