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Wednesday - April 25, 2018 8:57 am

More help needed in fight against opioid epidemic

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The numbers are staggering. La Crosse, like the rest of the nation, is seeing an increase in the number of overdose deaths. In 2017, there were 26 fatal overdose deaths in La Crosse County, five more than the year before. And increasingly, those deaths are the result of the use of opioids, including the powerful drug fentanyl. While the rise in overdoses is alarming, in Wisconsin it is not going unnoticed. Lawmakers, health educators and concerned citizens are fighting back. The state of Wisconsin has approved 30 new laws over the last six years in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Locally, members of the Heroin Task Force and a newly formed Overdose Death Review Team are working to come up with ways to prevent this scourge from claiming more lives. But this is a huge fight, and more needs to be done. Some help could come from the federal government. Congress is considering legislation that could make it easier for the elderly to get help. Opioid overdoses killed more than 1300 Americans age 65 and older each year. Yet Medicare doesn't cover the oldest proven treatment for opioid addition, methadone. There are now calls for Medicare to start paying for treatment in methadone clinics. It is tragic that so many people are dying from their addiction to these powerful drugs, but it is gratifying to see so many good people working hard to fight the epidemic.

Last modified on Wednesday - April 25, 2018 10:58 pm
Scott Robert Shaw

Scott Robert Shaw is the Program Director for both 1410 WIZM and 580 WKTY.   He's currently the morning news anchor on 1410 WIZM, Z93 and 95-7 The Rock.  He joined Mid-West Family Broadcasting as a reporter/anchor in 1989 and served as News Director from 1990-2015.   He's been the winner of several Wisconsin Broadcaster's Association awards for Best Editorial in Wisconsin.  He enjoys traveling, bicycling and cooking.

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