Wisconsin to receive more than $17 million in federal funding to combat opioid crisis

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WMTV)-- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Wisconsin will be receiving $17,174,635 to combat the opioid crisis by expanding access to treatment and support near real-time data on the drug overdose crisis.

HHS announced Wednesday they are awarding states more than $1.8 billion in funding.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced more than $900 million in new funding for a three-year cooperative agreement with states, territories, and localities . $301 million will be released for the first year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded approximately $932 million to all 50 states as part of its State Opioid Response grants.

Wisconsin will receive $11,979,333 under the State Opioid Response program. Funding from the CDC will go to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, totaling $5,195,302.

"Our country is seeing the first drop in overdose deaths in more than two decades, more Americans are getting treatment for addiction, and lives are being saved," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "At the same time, we are still far from declaring victory. We will continue executing on the Department’s 5-Point strategy for combating the opioid crisis, and laying the foundation for a health care system where every American can access the mental health care they need.”

In August, Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced opioid deaths are at their lowest level since 2015 in the state. Officials said an estimated 1 in 6 Wisconsin adults were prescribed and used an opioid in the past year. Hospital emergency room visits for all opioid-related overdoses in Wisconsin increased from 2014 to 2018 by 64 percent. However, inpatient stays for overdoses from 2014 to 2018 decreased by 15 percent.

Wisconsin DHS also reported the number of opioid-related deaths in Wisconsin in 2018 was 838, according to data reported as of June 30, 2019. That’s a 10 percent decrease from the 932 deaths reported in 2017. In 2016, there were 850 opioid-related deaths.

“The most recent data on Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic is encouraging,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk in August. “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.”

Wisconsin DHS has a new online tool featuring interactive charts, graphs, and maps. It's called Data Direct:Opioids.