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Created On Monday, 20, February 2017
Modified On Monday, 12, April 2021

Opioid Treatment in Wisconsin

Searching for treatment for opioid addiction in Wisconsin can be overwhelming. The situation is usually never good. Tensions can be high, and there may be an urgency to find a place before they change their minds. All of this can add to the stress and confusion of trying to make the best decision. Often, people simply choose the first place they call or the one nearest their home. But neither of these methods ensures that the program will be the right fit for the person's needs.

As covered earlier, medication-assisted programs are not recommended because they tend to place people on prescription opioids instead of illegal ones.

This accomplishes little other than some reduced risks associated with using opioids, and many patients don't adhere to the program. They must take a drug every day to feel okay, which is the same as before treatment, only now the drug doesn't get them "high." Instead, it keeps them from having withdrawal symptoms. After a while of taking opioids daily and never experiencing the euphoria or positive effects, many people sell their medications on the black market or trade them to get illicit opioids like heroin. This can begin a cycle of "relapsing" onto illegal drugs but saving enough prescription opioids to keep from experiencing withdrawal symptoms between binges.

A much better choice for many patients seeking rehabilitation is the traditional drug and alcohol treatment programs that have been around for decades. Traditional programs have saved countless lives and helped many people overcome opioid addiction. An example of these is the twelve-step programs that began with Alcoholics Anonymous.

They average around 28 days in length and are mostly inpatient, with outpatient support offered for aftercare. Another plus about these programs is that they are so common and effective that one can find support groups nearly anywhere in the world should they need ongoing support after treatment.

Perhaps the most effective form of treatment for opioid addiction is holistic drug rehabilitation. Holistic drug and alcohol rehabs use no unnecessary medications at any phase of the program. Instead, they focus on health and nutrition to combat the effects of opioid addiction and offer counseling to address the underlying reasons why people begin using drugs. This also serves to prevent relapse after they complete treatment because they now know how to handle similar circumstances and life issues.

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Wisconsin Opioid Possession Penalties

There are many different minds of opioids, and they each vary in potency and deadliness. But no opioid can be legally possessed in Wisconsin without a valid prescription. Some, like heroin, are not legal whatsoever and have no medical value. The way that punishments are established for drug possession in Wisconsin is through a process known as scheduling. Substances are listed between Schedule I and Schedule V, with the most dangerous drugs falling into schedule I. At the bottom, Schedule V drugs are the least hazardous and have the least severe penalty associated.

Because of the possibility of death and severe addiction for people who use heroin or opiates without a prescription, the penalties for possession may be severe. The possession of these drugs is often treated similarly to possession of other hard drugs like cocaine. If a person is found in possession of a schedule I or schedule II opioid, they may be charged with a felony. Under Wisconsin's criminal laws, this means that they could face up to three and a half years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. Additionally, drug offenders in Wisconsin may have their driving privileges suspended. They may also be required to perform mandatory community service and may be required to pay additional charges on their fines, which are used to fund drug and alcohol abuse programs.

Wisconsin Opioid Statistics

In Wisconsin, an estimated 78% of drug overdose deaths involved opioids in 2018, totaling more than 846 (a rate of 15.3).

  • Among opioid-involved deaths, those involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (mainly fentanyl and fentanyl analogs) continued to rise from 466 in 2017 to 506 in 2018.
  • Deaths involving heroin or prescription opioids declined to a respective 327 (a rate of 6.0) and 301 (a rate of 5.3) cases in 2018.

In 2018, Wisconsin providers wrote 45.8 opioid prescriptions for every 100 persons compared to the average U.S. rate of 51.4.


Marcel Gemme, DATS - Author

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. H