Wisconsin Public Radio

State Awards $2.4 Million For Opioid Treatment

Grants were given to select counties and tribes to improve access to treatment.

By , Wisconsin Public Radio - Jun 2nd, 2018 11:37 am

Pills by Tom Varco (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Pills by Tom Varco (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The state has awarded 17 counties and four tribes around $2.4 million for opioid treatment. Wisconsin health officials say the long-term goal is to reduce the number of deaths and hospitalizations statewide.

The money comes from a two-year $15.2 million grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Around 900 people received help through last year’s grants, said Paul Krupski, opioid initiatives director with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

He said this funding round aims to improve access to medication-assisted treatment.

“Medication-assisted treatment is an evidence-based approach to treat opioid use disorder, so making sure that’s available and it is available along with the counseling services, the recovery and peer support services … is super important to promoting long-term recovery,” he said.

County and tribal governments that received awards were ranked based on the number of overdoses, deaths or difficulties accessing treatment. Krupski hopes the funding will improve treatment options across the state and save lives.

Krupski said counties and tribes can use the money to provide treatment with medications like methadone, buprenorphine products and naltrexone.

“The long-term goal is seeing a reduction in opioid-related deaths. That’s something that unfortunately we continue to see an increase in the last several years,” he said.

Wisconsin saw a record 883 overdose deaths last year, according to the state.

Douglas County Health and Human Services received a $75,000 grant for opioid treatment.

Douglas County Health and Human Services Deputy Director Dave Longsdorf said the county plans to use the funds for opioid detox, inpatient treatment and medication-assisted treatment. Longsdorf said they’ll work with the Lake Superior Community Health Center in Superior to offer Suboxone, a buprenorphine product that reduces symptoms of addiction and withdrawal.

“We will have a small amount set aside to assist people in paying for it if they meet income eligibility standards,” he said. “However, medical assistance and private insurance will typically pay for that.”

He said the county may provide case management or fund transportation costs in order to improve access to medication-assisted treatment. In addition, Longsdorf said the money could potentially fund inpatient treatment for 17 people at residential care facilities for up to 30 days.

“Consumers that are at those programs receive one-on-one counseling. They receive group counseling. They kind of navigate support groups that are available, and they really spend that entire time working on getting through at least the early stages of their addiction,” said Longsdorf.

Longsdorf said the county has long struggled to overcome barriers to inpatient treatment, including a lack of coverage under medical assistance. He said medical assistance is often not accepted for outpatient services as well. He noted nearby Minnesota providers tend to offer services to their residents because of Wisconsin’s lower Medicaid reimbursement rate.

Wisconsin’s reimbursement rate prompted the Human Development Center (HDC) in Douglas County to end its substance abuse and behavioral health services at the end of last year and migrate those services to the Lake Superior Community Health Center in Superior, according to Betsy Byler, director of outpatient, behavioral health and substance abuse services with the Lake Superior Community Health Center. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services raised reimbursement rates for mental health and substance abuse disorder services this year, but the increase fell short of covering costs that would allow providers like HDC to continue offering those services.

Byler said they’ve been able to continue behavioral health and substance abuse services at the Lake Superior Community Health Center, which takes advantage of an enhanced Medicaid reimbursement rate. The move has meant a more robust service offering for clients at the center that includes access to medication-assisted treatment.

“This area, in terms of Douglas County, has been really underserved in that area so it’s a really big deal to have this program in general,” she said. “In the past, clients have had to travel to Ashland or into Minnesota past Duluth down towards the cities or Brainerd in order to get medication to help with their recovery for opioid addiction.”

St. Croix, Brown, Dane and La Crosse counties are among other governments that received grants. In addition, the Bad River and Lac du Flambeau tribes along with the Ho-Chunk Nation and Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians also received funding for opioid treatment.

Listen to the WPR story here.

State Awards Nearly $2.4M To Select Counties, Tribes For Opioid Treatment was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

9 thoughts on “State Awards $2.4 Million For Opioid Treatment”

  1. MONICA says:

    MY God its about time! WE NEED MORE HELP HERE IN MILWAUKEE. drive down any street here and you will find someone. Most of these people do not have insurance. WHY cant we set up free clinics for this medication!??? instead we have FOOLISHNESS like a trolley!??? and an arena. for the love of God , these people need help. Now.

  2. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    As a Clinical Pharmacist in Rehab for 50 years, we can tell you that the only solution to this epidemic is Prevention and Rehab.
    Legalizing will only make Prevention worse, as 10% of Pot smokers get addicted, more get dependent, as their every day revolves around Pot.
    Finally large numbers go on to hard drugs as the CDC, FDA lists pot as Gateway drug. They are the experts in this problem. Legalization is the wrong answer , it will send to more kids in the morgue, mostly young ladies.

    bob Dohnal, RPh

  3. PMD says:

    Prevention and rehab not incarceration because these addicts are white right Bob? Your kind sang a different tune in the ’80s and ’90s. And you are still wrong about marijuana being a gateway drug: https://www.vox.com/2016/4/29/11528410/cannabis-gateway-drug-theory

    Do you worry this much about alcohol?

  4. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    I have no idea what you are talking about but the crime prevention/treatment for drug abuse has changed dramatically over the years from the 60’s when Rocky put everyone in jail for long time. Fred Tabak and I started the methadone clinic in the 70’s.
    I have dealt with people of all colors including jerks like you for 50 years in rehab and have seen so many people destroy them selves, families jobs, businesses. Potheads, addicts, drunks are responsible for most of the problems in society. Watching all these young people kill themselves, mostly young women of all colors, with drugs, overdoes etc.
    Legalization would be the nightmare in Wisconsin, that the Left wants, that the Colorado governor just said that legalization is mess in Colorado.
    The Left wants to put all these kids in the morgue so the govt. can spend some more money a paltry 133 million in 70 billion dollar budget.

  5. MONICA says:

    i agree pmd. all the way.

  6. PMD says:

    Can anyone be a pharmacist in this state? There simply is no comparing the amount of problems caused by alcohol and opioids versus marijuana. 61% of Americans support legalization, and that includes a whole lot of Republicans. You spew repulsive, hateful, false nonsense like “the left wants to kill kids.” I don’t know anyone who talks that way. It’s so vile. You should be ashamed and embarrassed to type crap like that. You are an awful human being.

  7. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    The questions; “stupidos” is not comparing alcohol to Pot, it is why would we be so stupid as to add to the problems of booze by legalzing Pot.
    It is really easy to tell why we should not do that, just read the nonsensical comments by the Potheads!!!

  8. Bill Lauer says:

    The focus is backwards. If you want people to recover, you study and fund recovery. Treatment does not equal recovery. Treatment is an event in recovery. With the exception of prevention, the lions share of the opiate money is spent on programs that support big business and big pharma. Can we really trust the makers of this epidemic to find a solution? Incidentally, Wisconsin does not fund gathering outcome data. So all of this “treatment success” is good story telling not based on actual data.

  9. Wisconsin Conservative Digest says:

    Bill, you are right mostly, as opioids prescribed have been big problem but so are wlll the recreational drugs mostly Pot, all research, CDC, FDA have affirmed that.
    We must attack this opioid thing head on, as it is killing our kids and our tolerance of the use of recreational drugs, the mess in Colorado are major part of it.

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