County expands anti-opioid fight

Waukesha County officials announce a new program to combat opioid abuse and tout the success of a lifesaving measure already in place. Participating in the announcement were, from left: Antwayne Robertson, director of the Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services; County Executive Paul Farrow; Jennifer Dorow, chief judge of the 3rd Administrative District; Sarah Cook, a 911 dispatcher with the Waukesha County Communications Center; and Nicole Amendariz, press secretary for the county executive’s office.

WAUKESHA — An expanded fight against opioid abuse with an emphasis on women will launch in Waukesha County based on the success of its prescription drug overdose program, which has saved 88 lives since its inception in 2017.

Waukesha County Paul Farrow announced the new program to an audience of more than 50 at a Monday morning news conference.

“After the success of this program and because of Waukesha County’s reputation for innovation, leadership and due to our rural and urban mix in our population, we have been chosen by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to lead a new project that will help us expand our fight against opioids with a special focus on women,” Farrow said.

Called the Women’s Health and Recovery Project, it will be “a new model of comprehensive services” for women suffering from substance abuse and their affected families,” according to a summary of the program.

The county received about $100,000 to develop the model and strengthen existing services for women with opiate use disorders and their families.

The project, known as a meta-model, will provide treatment for women, children’s services, education, prevention, recovery support services, transportation, employment, legal services and nutrition.

The county recently committed to supporting an inpatient drug treatment center for women.

The new women’s project will be a pilot program that could possibly be used by any county in the state or country that has both rural and urban populations.

The project’s outline was built by Waukesha County Department of Health and Human Services staff during a three-month period. The draft currently is being reviewed by the state and its academic partners.

As for the existing overdose program, Farrow credited the county’s training of 825 law enforcement personnel from 29 agencies on the use of naloxone (brand name Narcan) with the saving of lives. An injection of naloxone counters the overdose effects of opioids, especially heroin.

The county receives $225,522 per year for five years, starting in 2017, to train first responders and civilians on preventing overdose deaths with the proper use of naloxone.

The program distributes naloxone to those who are trained through the program.

Nearly 300 opioid overdose education trainings were conducted to date for 3,203 people, and 2,860 naloxone kits were distributed free of charge through the program.

The next training session is 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12, at the Lake Area Club, N60-W33335878 Lake Drive, Oconomowoc.


Jump for Archie slated for Wednesday in Oconomowoc

Antwayne Robertson, director of the county’s health and human services department, also addressed the audience, made up most of social services and antidrug experts. Robertson said his most vivid memory of the program was of a person who received training and a naloxone kit at a Jump for Archie anti-drug event. A week later, that person used the naloxone to save a life, he said.

The 5th annual Jump for Archie to combat rising opioid use will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday at City Beach in Oconomowoc, 324 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The event will recognize the life-saving efforts of emergency responders and provides training on the use of naloxone.

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The event honors Archie Badura, who died of an overdose at 19. On the day of his burial, family members jumped into water fully clothed in his memory, letting Archie know his death would not be in vain. His family later started the Jump for Archie to highlight opioid dangers and the toll addiction takes on families.

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