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  • September 04, 2019 11:20 AM | Anonymous

    September 4, Wisconsin Health News

    Around $5.2 million in new federal funding is heading to Wisconsin to help fight the opioid epidemic, Democratic U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said Tuesday.

    The money, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will help the Department of Health Services' opioid surveillance and prevention efforts.

    Baldwin pushed for the money.

    "Washington needs to do more to address the opioid epidemic," she said in a statement. "A strong partnership with state and local officials is essential to an effective response."


  • August 28, 2019 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    August 28, Wisconsin Health News

    Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan plans to open a facility in Waukesha offering addiction treatment next year, according to a Wednesday statement.

    The 22-bed LSS Aspen Center will serve about 125 individuals from southeastern Wisconsin annually. It will fill a need in Waukesha county by offering affordable, medically monitored treatment for women seeking care.

    “Being able to serve women inside of Waukesha County rather than sending them to surrounding areas for treatment is a win,” Paul Farrow, Waukesha County executive, said in a statement.

    Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan hopes to raise $1.7 million by the end of the year for the facility.

    It's already secured a $300,000 grant from Waukesha County. It needs about $500,000 to open treatment services at the start of next year. 


  • August 15, 2019 3:10 PM | Anonymous

    August 15, Wisconsin Health News

    The number of opioid deaths in the state is at its lowest level since 2015, the Department of Health Services reported Wednesday.

    There were 838 deaths in 2018, a 10 percent reduction from the previous year.

    “The most recent data on Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic is encouraging,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk. “It shows that our collective ongoing efforts to support individuals and communities affected by this public health crisis are working to save lives, but we still have a lot of work to do to end this epidemic.”

    The department on Wednesday released a federally funded online tool containing up-to-date information on opioid usage, hospitalizations and deaths. 


  • August 12, 2019 11:56 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    August 12, Wisconsin Health News

    Around $2.5 million is heading to 15 Wisconsin community health centers and two La Crosse academic institutions to help combat the opioid epidemic.

    The funding is part of $400 million awarded nationally by the Department of Health and Human Services. The community health centers are set to get $2.4 million.

    “While progress has been made increasing access to these services, community health centers are still working to ensure that the recovery programs are sustainable and they can hire qualified staff members to best meet significant community needs," said Stephanie Harrison, CEO of the Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association.

    Viterbo University in La Crosse is getting about $741,000 to enhance training for students preparing to become behavioral health professionals.

    Western Technical College in La Crosse is getting around $103,000 to enhance training for students preparing to become behavioral health paraprofessionals. 
  • July 31, 2019 11:43 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    July 31, Wisconsin Health News

    Milwaukee’s Common Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday allowing Milwaukee’s city attorney to file suit against drugmakers and distributors that could be held responsible for damages from the opioid epidemic.

    The resolution allows the city to retain outside counsel for the litigation. It notes that thousands of governmental entities – including Milwaukee County last year and Wisconsin this May – have filed lawsuits over the epidemic.

    The resolution now heads to Mayor Tom Barrett's office.

    The action comes as Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office reported a total of 14 probable overdose deaths between Friday and Monday morning.

    On Monday, the Milwaukee Community Opioid Prevention Effort released a report showing a 10 percent decline in the number of opioid-related overdose deaths from 2017 to 2018.

    There were 302 opioid-related overdose deaths last year, down from 337 in the prior year.

    Around 62 percent of all overdose deaths last year involved fentanyl, either alone or in combination with other drugs, an increase from the prior year.

    The group estimated in its report that for every death, there were five more people who experienced an overdose that survived.

    In 2016, the rate of opioid overdose death in the county was double the rate of Wisconsin, showing the crisis is “disproportionately impacting Milwaukee County and its citizens,” the report noted.

    Last week, the City-County Heroin, Opioid and Cocaine Task Force met to review efforts to fight the epidemic.

    Those efforts included:

    ·    A June awareness event, modeled after a similar initiative in Dayton, Ohio, that aimed to connect those suffering from substance use disorder with treatment. Task force members said the event should happen regularly.

    ·    A $20,000 awareness campaign by the Milwaukee Health Department, funded by a grant from the Department of Health Services, that city officials hope to launch in August.

    ·    The Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management has applied for a $600,000 grant that would help emergency medical services, law enforcement and hospital systems track overdoses in real time. 

    The Milwaukee Overdose Response Initiative, an effort by the Milwaukee Fire Department, has been working to follow up with overdose victims and connect them to treatment. 

  • July 22, 2019 11:09 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    WISAM Members In the News

    All Ways Forward; University of Wisconsin - Madison

    When Eric Smiltneek ’01, MD’06 was in medical school, he dreamed of being able to help both individuals and an entire community. Today his dual roles in Oshkosh as a family medicine doctor at ThedaCare Physicians and a medical director at Nova, an addiction-treatment center, have allowed him to do just that. “I’ve enjoyed both being a family and a community doctor,” he says.

    After earning his UW undergraduate degree, Smiltneek spent a year with AmeriCorps in Chicago, where he learned about substance abuse and its devastating impact. When he returned to UW–Madison for medical school, he says, “I had fantastic mentors.” Dr. Michael Miller in particular encouraged him to continue his work with addiction, and Miller still serves as a mentor for Smiltneek today. “Even 10 to 15 years out, I’m still learning from the people I was learning from at the UW,” Smiltneek says.

    After arriving in Oshkosh, he first focused on treating prescription-drug addiction and then helped to address the expanding heroin epidemic. Smiltneek is also involved with a Wisconsin Department of Corrections pilot program to help recently released nonviolent drug offenders. The program, he says, has doubled or even tripled the number of clients able to avoid relapse after one year.

    Smiltneek also approaches addiction from a prevention angle. A former member of the Wisconsin Hoofers with a lifelong passion for the outdoors, he leads a youth sailing club and he also founded Dr. Eric’s Skate Club in Oshkosh to lay the foundation for appreciating physical activities at a young age.

    “I realized what an awesome release this was for stress and feeling sad and needing something exciting to happen,” he says. “If people can have something that gets them outside and find something that really grounds them, then I hope the need for drugs and alcohol is less, and we can get more healthy addictions.”

  • July 17, 2019 4:40 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has identified the Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine as a key stakeholder to participate in a needs assessment of the behavioral health service system in our state.

    WISAM members are invited and encouraged to participate in a Behavioral Health Gaps Survey, comprised of approximately 10 topics ranging from service availability, accessibility, and service gaps for subpopulations.

    Participation in the survey is both anonymous and voluntary, and is estimated to take approximately 30 minutes or less to complete. Please:

    • Complete survey prior to the deadline of August 9, 2019.
    • Complete the survey only once even if you receive multiple invitations.
    • Use the same computer if you need to complete the survey in more than one sitting. The survey link will take you to the point you stopped as long as you use the same computer. 
    • Direct all questions or problems with the survey to Abra Vigna, lead staff a UW-PHI, avigna@wisc.edu.

    BEGIN SURVEY 

    Thank you for your participation. 

  • July 01, 2019 5:25 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    A message from Mike Miller, MD, DFASAM, WISAM's Public Policy Chair

    The advocacy positions of the AMA are very aligned with those of ASAM.  With its rich history and broad membership, AMA's presence and clout opens doors in the legislative arena and Congress pays attention.  Below is an excerpt of a recent AMA Advocacy Update.  I encourage you to stay abreast of these updates.

    AMA Advocacy Update,  June 27, 2019

    ISSUE SPOTLIGHT: Funding boost needed to close treatment gap for patients with opioid use disorder

    The nation's opioid epidemic is worsening as policy, regulatory and especially insurance barriers continue to block access to treatment, AMA President-elect Susan R. Bailey, MD, told Congress.


    "The good news is that we know that there are policy and clinical interventions that work and have a direct impact on saving lives and improving care," Dr. Bailey testified last week at a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing. "The bad news is there is a huge gap in access to treatment. It is estimated that less than 35% of adults with opioid-use disorder had received treatment for it in 2018."

    Progress continues on multiple fronts. As shown in the AMA Opioid Task Force's 2019 progress report, physicians have significantly lowered the number of opioid prescriptions they write and there are rising numbers of doctors registering with and using their state prescription drug monitoring program, getting certified to provide in-office buprenorphine and prescribing naloxone for at-risk patients.

    Medical societies in several states have used the AMA's model legislation to remove commercial and Medicaid prior authorization barriers to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

    Read more.

  • June 24, 2019 5:10 PM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    Fellow designation gives recognition to and raises awareness of ASAM members who are board certified addiction specialists. ASAM Fellows are able to use the FASAM designation after their name.

    To qualify for the FASAM designation, physicians must be members of ASAM for two consecutive years and be currently certified in Addiction Medicine. 

    Learn more to see if you qualify!

  • June 20, 2019 9:08 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

    While Wisconsin and other states have made progress snuffing out cigarette smoking, youth vaping is on the rise. One in five high school students regularly used e-cigarettes in 2018, a jump in use the Department of Health Services has called an epidemic.

    What led to this rise? And what are its overall health implications? What’s being done to address the issue?

    A Wisconsin Health News panel on July 9 in Madison will tackle these questions and more.

    Panelists:

    • Jeanne Ayers, Public Health Division Administrator, Department of Health Services
    • Sen. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere
    • Dr. James Meyer, Pediatrician, Marshfield Clinic Health System
    • Dona Wininsky, Director of Advocacy, Grassroots and Patient Engagement, American Lung Association of Wisconsin

    Register now.

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