Dane County expanding program to help opioid overdose emergencie - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Dane County expanding program to help opioid overdose emergencies

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County is expanding an early intervention program for heroin and opiate overdose emergencies following a successful pilot.

"Recovery Coaches" guides people into immediate treatment shortly after experiencing a medical emergency from a heroin overdose. The project is a partnership between the Safe Communities Coalition, Dane County, the Wisconsin Medical Society, and local health care providers.

The project debuted earlier this year at St. Mary's Hospital. To date, 87% of the people recovery coaches intervened with at the hospital got into treatment shortly after their overdose. Those behind it say it is important to treat addiction as a medical condition.

"At the end of the day this is a medical condition that people are suffering from, addiction," said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. "We have to get in there on the front end to do everything we can to help folks recover."

Parisi included $15,000 in his 2017 Dane County budget to help Safe Communities fund the “recovery coach” program. The partners behind the project hope to expand it to 25 different hospitals across the state.

In addition to addressing heroin and opiate overdose emergencies, the partnership is launching a new program August 1st focused on supporting pregnant women who have an opioid use disorder.

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