Wisconsin doctors react as opioid drug overdoses increase - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Wisconsin doctors react as opioid drug overdoses increase


Emergency room visits due to opioid overdoses are on-the-rise in the United States, and Wisconsin has seen the largest increase of all, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The nation as a whole has seen a 30 percent increase, while Wisconsin came in with 109 percent, a CDC report released last week said.

"Opioid were my drug of choice," Sherry Lynn Ellis said. Sherry is a recovering addict. " In November and December I have had three people overdose and die."

She said the new numbers are not surprising her.

"That's what is so appealing with opioid, they just numb you," Ellis said.

Central Wisconsin Hospitals are not immune to the increase in opioid overdose visits.

 According to the CDC, the number of prescriptions given have decreased by 20 percent.  But there is still a gap.

"There is a balance for treating the patient appropriately for what ever pain they be having and not over prescribing," said Dr. Larry Gordon of Internal Medicine at Aspirus Weston Clinic.

Dr. Gordon said regardless of doctors limiting the prescriptions "they still have street value."

"I think that this is something impacting the whole nation," said Melissa Moore, the community coordinator at the Alcohol and Other Drugs Partnership in Wausau.

She praises the state for doing what it can to help control the situation.

"We have done great things to reduce the accessibility of prescription opioid through the drug monitoring program," Melissa said. "As well as the availability of Naxalone or Narcan , because without them we would be having a lot more funerals." 

For recovering addicts like Ellis, she was able to recover with the help of the community.

"There is help out there and if they need help reach out," Ellis said.

According to Moore, the reversal drug is available over the counter for those in danger.

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