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Facts & Stats

Wisconsin Addiction Intervention Facts & Resources

Substance abuse, addiction, alcohol use disorders and alcoholism are all problems in Wisconsin, just as across the rest of the United States. Many assume that Wisconsin, with its traditional family values and population density, would have considerably lower rates of problems with drugs and alcohol than other U.S. states would.

However, rates of substance abuse in Wisconsin have been increasing in recent decades, and the state has had a long battle with alcohol abuse and alcoholism since its statehood in May of 1848.

Access to Mental Health Care and Addiction Treatment in Wisconsin

Access to treatment for substance abuse, behavioral health issues and mental health concerns has always been difficult for Wisconsinites, but with under the weight of the opioid epidemic, the state’s infrastructure for providing care options has crumbled. The strain of the availability of drug rehab, mental health care and treatment programs in Wisconsin is most evident in Mental Health America’s (MHA) 2017 Mental Health Rankings Report, in which the state dropped from eight to 35th from 2011 to 2014.

Even worse, when it comes to access to treatment for mental health and substance abuse treatment for youth and teens, Wisconsin ranked 44th in the country. Only Virginia, Alabama, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Arizona and Arkansas ranked lower.

Add to this that Wisconsin ranks 48th in prevalence of mental illnesses, and the data shows that finding adequate addiction treatment and mental health care in Wisconsin is not easy.

Wisconsin Alcohol Abuse Statistics Aged 65 or Older

Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in Wisconsin Statistics

Wisconsin has some of the highest rates of alcohol abuse, binge drinking and problematic drinking issues in the country. According to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and Health First Wisconsin, excessive alcohol use costs $1,200 per person in lost productivity, premature death costs, health care costs and criminal justice costs.

Not only is heavy alcohol use widely accepted as a cultural practice, Wisconsin has some of the lowest prices for alcoholic beverages in the country, and is sold in more locations around the state.

Wisconsin Alcohol Abuse Poisoning Deaths

Wisconsin Alcohol Abuse Statistics

  • 11% of adults (age 65 and older) admit to binge drinking for 12 or more days within the past year.
  • 78% of adults (age 65-plus) admit to mixing alcohol with their medications.
  • Alcohol consumption rates in Wisconsin are 1.3 times higher than the national rate.
  • 22% of adults in Wisconsin engage in binge drinking.
  • Alcohol was a factor in 2,008 deaths in 2015.
  • 58% of alcohol-related deaths in Wisconsin in 2015 were due to acute causes, rather than chronic issues such as illnesses. Acute causes include accidents, poisonings, falls and vehicle collisions.
  • Alcohol-related suicide deaths in Wisconsin are significantly higher than in the rest of the United States, with 14.9 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2015.
  • The alcohol-related cirrhosis death rate in Wisconsin in 2014 was 5.1 per 100,000 residents, or 352 total.
  • 8% of those 12 years and older in Wisconsin abuse or are dependent on alcohol, slightly higher than the national average of 7%.
  • In 2013, 4% of teens in Wisconsin (ages 12 to 17) are dependent on or abuse alcohol.
  • In 2013, 17% of young adults (ages 18 to 25) are dependent on or abuse alcohol.
  • In 2013, 7% of adults (age 26 and older) are dependent on or abuse alcohol.
  • The good news is that arrests for operating a vehicle while intoxicated have decreased every year in Wisconsin since 2006, from 775 arrests per 100,000 residents in 2006 to 431 per 100,000 in 2014.
  • 55% of American Indians and Alaskan Native high school students in Wisconsin admit to drinking within the past 30 days.

The Opioid Epidemic in Wisconsin

While alcohol abuse rates in WI have slowly gotten better in recent years, drug abuse and addiction rates have exploded in the state, as they have in all other states in the U.S., thanks to the prescription drug epidemic, followed by an acute heroin epidemic, known collectively as the Great Opioid Epidemic.

The Midwest has seen some of the highest numbers of deaths due to overdoses on opioid drugs and heroin, and Wisconsin, too, has been hit with these high numbers.

Drug-Related Overdose Deaths in Wisconsin:

Drug-related overdose deaths in Wisconsin have mirrored the increases seen on the national level, increasing every year since at least 2006:

  • 2006 – 9.3 Deaths in Wisconsin, 10.9 Deaths in the U.S. (Per 100,000 Residents)
  • 2007 – 9.3 Deaths in Wisconsin, 10.9 Deaths in the U.S.
  • 2008 – 8.4 Deaths in Wisconsin, 10.9 Deaths in the U.S.
  • 2009 – 9.1 Deaths in Wisconsin, 10.9 Deaths in the U.S.
  • 2010 – 9.0 Deaths in Wisconsin, 11.3 Deaths in the U.S.
  • 2011 – 10.5 Deaths in Wisconsin, 13.9 Deaths in the U.S.
  • 2012 – 11.3 Deaths in Wisconsin, 13.8 Deaths in the U.S.
  • 2013 – 13.8 Deaths in Wisconsin, 14.6 Deaths in the U.S.
  • 2014 – 13.8 Deaths in Wisconsin, 15.5 Deaths in the U.S.
  • 2015 – 15.3 Deaths in Wisconsin

Opioid-Related Hospitalizations in Wisconsin (2013, By County):

  • Adams County – 172 Hospitalizations
  • Ashland County – 709 Hospitalizations
  • Barron County – 219 Hospitalizations
  • Bayfield County – 414 Hospitalizations
  • Brown County – 184 Hospitalizations
  • Buffalo County – 248 Hospitalizations
  • Burnett County – 188 Hospitalizations
  • Calumet County – 91 Hospitalizations
  • Chippewa County – 307 Hospitalizations
  • Clark County – 163 Hospitalizations
  • Columbia County – 242 Hospitalizations
  • Crawford County – 115 Hospitalizations
  • Dane County – 191 Hospitalizations
  • Dodge County – 226 Hospitalizations
  • Door County – 107 Hospitalizations
  • Douglas County – 37 Hospitalizations
  • Dunn County – 270 Hospitalizations
  • Eau Claire County – 340 Hospitalizations
  • Florence County – 45 Hospitalizations
  • Fond Du Lac County – 245 Hospitalizations
  • Forest County – 407 Hospitalizations
  • Grant County – 83 Hospitalizations
  • Green County – 195 Hospitalizations
  • Green Lake County – 165 Hospitalizations
  • Iowa County – 134 Hospitalizations
  • Iron County – 364 Hospitalizations
  • Jackson County – 230 Hospitalizations
  • Juneau County – 201 Hospitalizations
  • Kenosha County – 248 Hospitalizations
  • Kewaunee County – 271 Hospitalizations
  • La Crosse County – 138 Hospitalizations
  • Lafayette County – 299 Hospitalizations
  • Langlade County – 83 Hospitalizations
  • Lincoln County – 221 Hospitalizations
  • Manitowoc County – 360 Hospitalizations
  • Marathon County – 157 Hospitalizations
  • Marinette County – 186 Hospitalizations
  • Marquette County – 222 Hospitalizations
  • Menominee County – 524 Hospitalizations
  • Milwaukee County – 451 Hospitalizations
  • Monroe County – 259 Hospitalizations
  • Oconto County – 138 Hospitalizations
  • Oneida County – 292 Hospitalizations
  • Outagamie County – 198 Hospitalizations
  • Ozaukee County – 256 Hospitalizations
  • Pepin County – 101 Hospitalizations
  • Peirce County – 114 Hospitalizations
  • Polk County – 166 Hospitalizations
  • Portage County – 225 Hospitalizations
  • Price County – 157 Hospitalizations
  • Racine County – 255 Hospitalizations
  • Richland County – 221 Hospitalizations
  • Rock County – 307 Hospitalizations
  • Rusk County – 174 Hospitalizations
  • Croix County – 102 Hospitalizations
  • Sauk County – 235 Hospitalizations
Wisconsin Opioid Overdose Statistics

  • Sawyer County – 253 Hospitalizations
  • Shawano County – 124 Hospitalizations
  • Sheboygan County – 275 Hospitalizations
  • Taylor County – 102 Hospitalizations
  • Trempealeau County – 213 Hospitalizations
  • Vernon County – 179 Hospitalizations
  • Vilas County – 468 Hospitalizations
  • Walworth County – 202 Hospitalizations
  • Washburn County – 230 Hospitalizations
  • Washington County – 229 Hospitalizations
  • Waukesha County – 253 Hospitalizations
  • Waupaca County – 181 Hospitalizations
  • Waushara County – 186 Hospitalizations
  • Winnebago County – 198 Hospitalizations
  • Wood County – 296 Hospitalizations
Total: 16,041 Opioid-Related Hospitalizations in 2013

Wisconsin Drug Abuse and Addiction Statistics

  • Drug deaths involving opioids increased from 60% to 74% of all drug-related deaths from 2006 to 2015.
  • Drug deaths involving heroin increased from 5% to 32% of all drug-related deaths from 2006 to 2015.
  • Drug deaths involving benzodiazepines increased from 17% to 26% of all drug-related deaths from 2006 to 2015.
  • Rates of babies addicted to opioids suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) increased from 2.8 per 1,000 births in 2008 to 8.0 in 2014.
  • Nearly 900,000 Wisconsin adult residents identified as users of methamphetamine in 2015. However, only 706 individuals received addiction treatment for methamphetamine in Wisconsin that same year (utilizing state assistance programs).
  • More people died from drug overdoses in Wisconsin in 2013 than from firearms, suicide and motor vehicle accidents combined.
  • 82% of drug-related overdose deaths in Wisconsin in 2014 were ruled as accidental, while 14% were ruled as suicide.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Wisconsin

According to the Program Participation System of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 6,516 individuals entered substance abuse treatment programs and drug and alcohol rehab programs in Wisconsin in 2016. Of those that entered treatment, 59.4 percent were employed, 16 percent were unemployed, and 24.6 percent were designated as “not in labor force.”

A lack of sufficient prevention and treatment options in Wisconsin has left many residents unable to find adequate addiction treatment in their state. Not only is there a lack of state-funded drug rehabs in Wisconsin, but there is also a dearth of private addiction treatment programs and treatment options.

While Gov. Scott Walker has promised to attack the opioid epidemic that has put a strain on the availability of addiction treatment, which was lacking even before the epidemic, such treatment infrastructure will take time to implement.

Wisconsin Drug and Alcohol Interventions

Along with the exploding rates of drug and alcohol addiction in WI comes the need for proper drug and alcohol addiction treatment. With so few options for addiction treatment in Wisconsin that include a truly comprehensive program, and even fewer options that can offer help for mental health issues and substance abuse, Wisconsin residents can benefit from Intervention Helpline services.

At Intervention Helpline, we can help you with the process of reviewing and vetting available options for treatment in Wisconsin, and assist with treatment planning and case management. For chronic and complex addiction cases – such as prescription drug addiction, heroin addiction, alcoholism, and dual diagnosis needs – we recommend having a guide to assist your family throughout the treatment process, in the form of case management.

Addiction case managers will help the family with all aspects of care, from the initial drug and alcohol intervention through treatment planning, rehab and aftercare.

Watch this 1-minute to know what to look for in a drug interventionist:

Call or message Intervention Helpline today, and we can answer your addiction and substance abuse treatment questions, or help you to take the first steps toward getting a loved one help for their substance problems.

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