Wisconsin is awarded federal funding to combat the opioid epidemic.
Officials with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) recently awarded more than $2 million in grants to help combat the opioid crisis in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The following awards were issued: Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division, $1,199,999; Waukesha County, $376,811; Washington County, $500,000.
“Too many families in Wisconsin have suffered the loss of loved ones to the opioid crisis,” said Matthew Krueger, United States attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. “The awards being announced here underscore the Justice Department’s commitment to supporting a comprehensive approach to fighting the opioid crisis.”
The awards will support an array of activities designed to reduce the harm inflicted by these dangerous drugs.
“Grants will help law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and treatment professionals coordinate their response to overdoses. Funds will also provide services for children and youth affected by the crisis and will support the nationwide network of drug and treatment courts. Other awards will address prescription drug abuse, expand the capacity of forensic labs and support opioid-related research,” the DOJ said.
In September, Wisconsin received $17 million in federal grants to combat the opioid crisis as part of efforts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) to expand access to treatment and better track overdoses. The department awarded “$932 million in state opioid response grants to U.S. states and territories, with Wisconsin receiving about $11.9 million,” according to state officials. Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services also received $5.2 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The $932 million will be used in “everything from expanding the use of medication-assisted treatment in criminal justice settings, or in rural areas, via telemedicine, to youth-focused, community-based prevention efforts,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated.
Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin said, “Washington needs to do more to address the opioid epidemic and this federal funding will continue our strong partnership with state and local officials that is essential to an effective response. We must act immediately and put these federal investments to work in Wisconsin to support our continued fight against this deadly crisis.”
Some say that officials also need to address the growing meth problem currently underway in Wisconsin, allocating funds to combat an issue that has taken a second seat to opioids funding-wise. “The State Crime Laboratory handled 1,452 meth cases,” according to records, “which also indicate 40% of substance abuse prevention and treatment funds in Wisconsin come from the federal government. The rest is awarded through county and state programs such as Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) grants.”
Perhaps those on the front lines should have more of a say on how the state’s addiction funding is handled. This would ensure the proper targets are identified.
“It should be the providers who are in the trenches every day that should have a voice in determining what the needs are,” said Saima Chauhan, clinical team manager at Journey Mental Health Center in Madison. “We’re the ones every day… seeing individuals and families that are suffering so tremendously from the effects of addiction.”