Written by Dr. Corina Norrbom
Substance Abuse — It’s Everybody’s Business
May 16, 2017
8:00 a.m. – 2 p.m.
UW–Center for Civic Engagement
625 Stewart Ave., Wausau
$10 Registration Fee
(includes breakfast, lunch, & conference materials)
“We have to stop treating addiction as a moral failing, and start seeing it for what it is: a chronic disease that must be treated with urgency and compassion” — Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General
If you think substance abuse isn’t a national crisis, think again…
Did you know that drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States — with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015? Nationally, 44% of Americans say they know someone personally who is addicted to painkillers. Even right here in Marathon County, the number of felony drug charges more than tripled (rising from 168 to 526 charges) between 2010 and 2014.
Not only do individual families suffer, but entire communities are affected by substance addiction.
Drug and alcohol addiction (as well as associated issues) stress our law enforcement capacity, exacerbate our workforce shortage, reduce workplace productivity and safety, contribute to children being exposed to adverse childhood experiences, increase the need for foster care, burden school districts, and challenge health providers.
So where can communities turn to help solve this growing national problem?
On May 16, the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS) is hosting a regional conference to raise awareness that addiction is a chronic disease, that recovery is possible, and that community-wide recovery ecosystems are necessary supports.
The conference will bring people together from different backgrounds and professions to better understand substance abuse and to consider evidence-based strategies and best practices to address our addiction crisis.
Who is encouraged to attend?
- Community lenders
- Law enforcement
- Economic development representatives
- Health-system leaders
- Health-care providers
- Health insurers
- Public health officials
- Substance abuse and mental health providers and advocates
- Clergy/Religious leaders
- Philanthropic organizations/foundations
- Community members
- The press
Substance abuse is a multi-faceted problem that cannot be solved piecemeal. It requires multi-disciplinary collaboration and mutually reinforcing activities. The entire community must be engaged to develop simultaneous strategies including: effective workplace strategies, appropriate prescribing, efforts to prevent adverse childhood events and improve childhood resiliency, comprehensive evidence-based pain management, public safety/enforcement techniques and programs, addiction treatment, post-treatment support, affordable and available sober housing, transitional jobs, and naloxone training.
What’s more, treatment and recovery efforts are long-term endeavors. Even in the best of circumstances, it may take a brain 18–24 months to “reboot,” and during this critical time and beyond, there’s a need for recovery coaching, safe and sober housing, transitional employment, and other supports.
Exacerbating the problem is a shortage of mental health and addiction medicine professionals, and especially in rural areas, there are generally fewer resources and options for treatment available even when a person does ask for help. In fact, there are only 6 inpatient treatment beds in north central Wisconsin, and for those, there is a 6-month waiting list.
Stigma and lack of awareness of addiction as a disease with a physiological basis also contribute to the problem.
Please join us on May 16 for an eye-opening and thought-provoking day as we come together to understand and help lessen addiction’s impact on our local families, schools, workplaces, and community at large.
Speakers & Panelists
Kierstin Justinger — Senior Manager Workforce Strategy, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation
Brett Davis — President, Aspirus Arise Health Plan
Sheila Weix — Director of Substance Abuse Services, Family Health Center of Marshfield
Julie Flood & Austin Flood — Family Voices for Recovery
Jesse Heffernan — Respite Director, Iris Place Peer Run
Jason Weber — Community Liaison Officer, Village of Fox Crossing Police Department
Nathaniel Stetzer — Wausau Police Department
Michael Loy — Interim CEO, North Central Health Care
Christopher Johnson, MD — Chair, Minnesota Dept. of Human Services Opioid Prescribing Work Group
For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 715-261-6368.
Dr. Corina Norrbom
Physician / WIPPS Health Policy Fellow | Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service
Dr. Norrbom is a family medicine doctor with Aspirus. In addition, she is a Health Policy Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service and a Faculty Navigator at the Medical College of Wisconsin–Central Wisconsin. In addition to patient care, Dr. Norrbom is passionate about addressing the many factors outside of the clinic that affect the health of individuals and their communities.
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