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Local News

Rural Wisconsin Towns Get $1 million to Combat Overdose Crisis

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by Isiah Holmes, Wisconsin Examiner
August 31, 2023

Over $1 million in federal funds will help rural Wisconsin communities respond to an epidemic of drug overdoses.

Each year over 100,000 people in the U.S. die of an overdose. In Wisconsin, over 9,500 Wisconsinites have lost their lives to an overdose from 2014-2021.

The funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration are part of a broader approach by the Biden Administration to seed money to communities to respond to the overdose crisis.

“Far too many rural families have faced the devastation of overdose, and these deaths are felt deeply across rural communities – where often everyone knows someone lost too soon,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson said in a statement. “At the Health Resources and Services Administration, we know that funding based on population size or other broad-based rubrics can miss the vital treatment and response needs of rural communities. That’s why the investments we are announcing today are targeted to rural communities and tailored to the unique challenges of helping rural health care leaders expand access to treatment and build recovery pathways to prevent overdose.”

Funds were distributed to communities in the cities of Marshfield and Keshena, areas where deaths from methamphetamine also are more common, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The Marshfield Clinic received $300,000 to help improve response strategies to overdoses. One use of the funds will be to deploy overdose reversal medications such as Narcan, which can be administered through a nasal spray.

The Family Health Center of Marshfield also received $500,000 to fund programs that include preventing infants from being exposed to opioids  and supporting family structures, which are often degraded through addiction. Another $289,231 went to the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin to support family and child-related programs.

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