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The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has awarded a $500,000 annual grant to the University of Wisconsin System to provide doctors real-time guidance on how to treat patients who may have an addiction. The addiction consultation line is part of the Heroin, Opioid, Prevention, and Education (HOPE) legislative package.

“This effort will enhance care to patients with addictions in all regions of the state – north to south, east to west, rural, suburban, and urban – through the promotion of effective methods to treat addictions,” said DHS Director of Opioid Initiatives Paul Krupski. “Supporting our primary care workforce with the latest guidance for treating patients with complex needs will lead to better outcomes. This program is part of our ongoing efforts to help everyone live their best life.”

These funds will be used to support the University of Wisconsin Addictions Consultation Service, which will provide a daily on-call service staffed by experts in addiction medicine, addiction psychology, and alcohol and other drug abuse counseling. The program will be managed by Randall Brown, M.D, Ph.D., a nationally recognized leader in addiction clinical care, provider training, community outreach, and research. Brown also is a distinguished fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

This grant was awarded following a competitive process. The funds were budgeted through the enactment of 2017 Wisconsin Act 28. This is one of 30 bills Governor Scott Walker has signed since 2014 to address Wisconsin’s opioid crisis, based on recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Abuse, co-chaired by Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Rep. John Nygren, and as part of the HOPE Agenda.

In 2016, 827 people in Wisconsin died of opioid-related drug overdoses, including heroin and prescription painkillers, up from 111 people in 2000.

For more information on Wisconsin’s opioid crisis, including steps everyone can take to protect their health and safety, visit the DHS website.