The U.S., in general, is experiencing a prescription drug abuse crisis. Opioid painkillers are particularly dangerous and addictive. Improper use can lead to dependence, serious side effects, and overdose.
NIDA - the National Institute on Drug Abuse - also reports that prior misuse of opioid painkillers has been linked to a higher risk of subsequent heroin use. The State of Wisconsin has had significant struggles with prescription opioid abuse, closely mirroring the state of the nation, with regard to the same.
Even when people have a legitimate prescription, they may fail to follow instructions on how to take the drug. This has been the case for numerous Wisconsin residents. Maybe they consume an unsafe dosage or combine the drug with alcohol or other substances, and so on.
Many residents of Wisconsin borrow painkillers or other prescription drugs from someone they know. Even if they do this to address a medical issue, it constitutes improper and potentially dangerous drug use. What is more - many of them end up hooked on these drugs, and some of them go on to overdose, sometimes fatally.
Wisconsin's opioid epidemic has evolved rapidly. There are three waves to this epidemic. The first wave began in 1999. That's when deaths involving opioids began to rise following an increase in the prescribing of opioids for the treatment of pain.
The second wave began in 2010. That's when deaths involving heroin began to rise. More people began to use heroin around this time because it was cheaper and more accessible than prescription opioids.
The third wave began in 2014. That's when deaths involving synthetic opioids like Fentanyl as well as numerous prescription opioids began to rise. This increase has been linked to fentanyl illegally manufactured and mixed with other drugs like heroin.
Between the years 2005 and 2014, Wisconsin residents between the ages of 12 and 25 showed an increase in the use of publicly funded treatments for prescription drug abuse.
In data collected in 2013 and 2014, 9 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 25 reported using pain relievers for nonmedical reasons in the past year. Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 reported such usage at a rate of 5 percent.
For adults who were 26 years of age and older, the rate was 3 percent. In the year 2013, 15 percent of high school students in Wisconsin reported that they had used a prescription drug for nonmedical purposes at least once in their life.
Wisconsin has seen a drastic increase in opioid deaths, from 111 deaths in 2000, to 827 in 2016. Milwaukee County has been the most affected county in the state, with a 600% increase between the years 2003 and 2013.
Between 2012 and 2016, Milwaukee County alone had 967 opiate related deaths. Prescription pain killer overdoses have increased by 260% among Wisconsin residents between the ages of 12 and 25.
In the year 2017, Wisconsin providers wrote 52.6 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons. This was among the lowest prescribing rates in the country and less than the average U.S. rate of 58.7 prescriptions (as per data from the CDC). The rate of overdose deaths involving opioid prescriptions, however, has risen steadily from 0.9 deaths in 1999 to 6.4 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2017.
NAS or neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) may occur when a pregnant woman uses drugs such as opioids during pregnancy. A recent national study showed a fivefold increase in the incidence of NAS/NOWS between 2004 and 2014, from 1.5 cases per 1,000 hospital births to 8.0 cases per 1,000 hospital births. That is one baby born with NAS/NOWS every 15 minutes in the United States.
In 2014, there were 8 cases of NAS/NOWS per 1,000 hospital births in the State of Wisconsin due to opioid exposure during pregnancy. This is about half the rate of women who used opioids during pregnancy in the same year.
In the year 2017, there were 926 overdose fatalities involving opioids in the state of Wisconsin — a rate of 16.9 fatalities per 100,000 persons, and higher than the national rate of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 persons.
The greatest increase in opioid deaths was seen in cases involving synthetic opioids (mainly Fentanyl): a rise from 56 deaths in 2012 to 466 deaths in 2017. Deaths involving heroin also increased significantly in the same 5-year period: from 185 deaths to 414 deaths. There were 362 deaths involving prescription opioids in 2017, a 30 percent increase from 273 in 2012.
Of the new HIV cases in 2016, 224 occurred in Wisconsin. Among males, 7.8 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse.
Among females, 12.5 percent of new HIV cases were attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse. In the year 2015, an estimated 5,916 persons were living with a diagnosed HIV infection in Wisconsin — a rate of 122 cases per 100,000 persons.
Of those, 15.4 percent of male cases were attributed to opioid and prescription opioid abuse or male-to-male contact and opioid abuse. Among females, 20.9 percent were living with HIV attributed to opioid abuse.
There were approximately 103 new cases of acute HCV (1.8 per 100,000 persons) reported in Wisconsin in 2016 (according to the CDC). In Wisconsin, there are an estimated 28,500 persons living with Hepatitis C (2013-2018 annual average), a rate of 640 cases per 100,000 persons. Opioid and prescription opioid abuse is responsible for the majority of these cases.
The good thing is that the state of Wisconsin has multiple drug rehab centers in place. There are numerous types of treatment centers such as long term addiction treatment facilities, short term drug abuse treatment, outpatient detoxification programs, outpatient substance abuse treatment services, inpatient drug abuse treatment and others.
There is a wide range of drug and alcohol rehab facilities available. They include individual psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy, couple/family therapy, trauma therapy, trauma-related counseling, cognitive/behavior therapy and others, to name a few. If you require rehab in Wisconsin, just reach out to any of the available rehab centers.
If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, it is imperative that you look for professional help as soon as you possibly can. However, you might not know where to start or the options that are open to you. Similarly, you may have little to no idea about the differences between the different treatment facilities and the programs they have in store for their patients.
Do you need help finding the right drug or alcohol rehab facility in your area?
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