Dane County Receives Funds to Support Opiate Diversion Program
April 04, 2013
Carrie Springer, Office of the County Executive 608.267.8823 or cell, 608.843.8858
Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance Awards funding to County
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced today that Dane County will receive funding from the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance to help address the rising problem of opiate abuse. Dane County’s Office of Equal Opportunity worked with the County’s Criminal Justice Council to apply for the state grant and was awarded $80,000.
“As we address heroin and other opiate addictions in Dane County, this grant will help us manage the increased number of cases we are seeing,” said Parisi.
Last year, the County Executive’s budget created an Opiates Task Force, led by Safe Communities, to bring together health care professionals, law enforcement officials, and other community leaders to create a roadmap to address the root causes of opiates addiction.
Parisi continued funding for the Task Force in the 2013 budget and expanded treatment for those addicted to opiates like heroin. The budget took the top recommendation of the Opiate Task Force and added six treatment slots for the county’s very effective “Drug Court.”
At the request of the Dane County District Attorney’s Office Deferred Prosecution Unit, the Dane County Office of Equal Opportunity, with the support of the Dane County Criminal Justice Council applied for and was awarded $80,000 grant from WI OJA.
“This grant is a great opportunity for us to address a powerful root cause for many people entering the criminal justice system,” said Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne. “If we can help address this powerful addiction and give people a meaningful opportunity to change their life we can make our community a safer place for us all.”
The grant will expand the District Attorney’s diversion program by creating a dedicated counselor to work with opiate addicted offenders.
An estimated two-thirds of poisoning deaths are due to drug overdoses. The rising abuse of prescription drugs such as OxyContin, oxycodone, and Vicodin is believed by many experts to be the first step on the road 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.
The number of MedDrop boxes more than doubled last year to help reduce access to prescription drugs by providing a safe way to dispose of unused medication. Six new boxes opened in Cambridge, Deerfield, Mazomanie, McFarland, Waunakee and the west side of Madison. There are now ten MedDrop boxes in Dane County open year round.