opioids

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The Latino population faces many challenges when it comes to barriers to care for addiction — including English proficiency, lack of insurance, and the stigma surrounding the issue. But the programs at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, including its Alcohol and Other Drug Addiction (AODA) and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), are especially geared toward the population it serves.

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In general, an estimated 80%  of people needing treatment for substance abuse in Wisconsin are not either seeking it or receiving it.

Allison Dikanovic

From alcohol to the misuse of opioids, addiction issues are a national crisis. In 2017, more than 900 people died from opioid overdoses in Wisconsin alone.

Lindsay Bunker woke up from a nightmare.

The 32-year-old lives with her sixth-month-old daughter on the Lac Courte Oreilles Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin. She's struggled with addiction for over 10 years, mostly to heroin. Then came the nightmare: She dreamt two men were attacking her baby while she could think only about drugs.

"In my mind I was thinking, 'If I can just get one hit, if I can get one line, I can save her,'" she recalls, pausing before continuing, "I woke up and I was panicking. How can a mother think like that?"

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The number of Wisconsin deaths caused by drug overdoses is expected to be well into the hundreds again this year, after totaling more than 900 last year. Health officials say most of those deaths were due to opioid abuse. Some businesses and medical experts say they have innovative ideas for reducing the opioid crisis.

More than 40 percent of the people who die of opioid-related deaths in Wisconsin are from Milwaukee County. The Medical Examiner estimates the number of local deaths will be down this year, but only about 5 percent from 2017.

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Recommendations from a Milwaukee city-county committee that's trying to reduce the opioid crisis were announced Friday during a meeting at Milwaukee City Hall.

The ideas come as the number of local opioid-related deaths is down a little this year but is still a sizable problem.

It may be rare for people seriously affected by substance abuse to get a chance to start over. However, Milwaukee County’s Family Drug Treatment Court is helping families do just that – and has been for several years.

Drug court, veterans court, mental health court… these are just a few examples of the types of specialty, or problem-solving courts, that seek to address specific problems in the justice system on an individual level.