Mayor Soglin, County Executive Parisi Announce Next Step in City-County Opiates Initiative

January 18, 2012
Katie Crawley, Office of Mayor Paul Soglin (608)-266-4611 Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858
County Executive

Date Set for Opiates Action Plan Kick Off


Madison Mayor Paul Soglin and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi  announced next steps for their joint city-county opiates action plan today, setting a date for their opiates action plan kick off meeting.  Soglin and Parisi created the new initiative, aimed at addressing the rising number of heroin and prescription drug overdoses, in their respective 2012 budgets.


“This is a devastating  issue that affects individuals and families throughout the city and the county,” said Mayor Soglin.  “I am pleased that the effort to address this problem continues.  The city is proud to be a partner in this project.”

“I look forward to continuing our work with these tremendous community partners,” said County Executive Parisi. “The county is committed to doing all it can to realize the solutions necessary to address this opiates scourge in our communities.”


The action plan is being executed in partnership with Safe Communities.  Safe Communities has successfully launched a number of similar community focused initiatives throughout the area, and has been a leader in local efforts to address drug abuse.


The meeting, the Prevention Summit on Unintentional Drug Poisoning, will take place on January 30th of 2012 at the American Family Training Center.  The summit will allow the opiates initiative workgroups that formed in the fall  to discuss their recommendations for key areas of the effort and execute next steps in the action plan.  A report will be released following the summit.


The workgroups consist of local elected officials, law enforcement, health care providers, and alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) prevention community members.  Their area of focus include:

  • Reducing access to drugs through drug enforcement, reduced misuse of prescription drugs, improved disposal of household pharmaceuticals, and community education campaigns.


  • Reducing inappropriate prescription drug usethat can often lead to an escalated addiction to opiates and heroin by partnering with the health care community.


  • Improving poisoning intervention to reduce overdose deaths.


  • Early intervention, drug treatment, and recovery efforts through family and community assisted intervention efforts, detox and recovery programs, and alternatives to incarceration.


  • Integration of mental health care  to address some of the root causes of addiction.


  • Substance abuse prevention  through school based programs, drug free coalitions and other community partners.


Poisoning deaths have reached near historic levels in Dane County, surpassing vehicular crashes as the number one cause of death.  Two-thirds of poisoning deaths are due to drug overdoses.  Officials point to the rising abuse of prescription drugs such as  OxyContin, oxycodone, and Vicodin as gateways to heroin abuse.  Those who abuse painkillers are said to make the switch to heroin because the drug is much cheaper and easier to obtain.


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