Oneida County Health Department works to raise awareness about Fentanyl-Opioid overdoses
More than 11,000 people in Wisconsin needed to go to the hospital in 2021 because of opioid overdoses.
Oneida County is working to raise awareness about the dangerous drug.
“This isn't meant to be like a scare tactic. We just want to grow awareness that [overdoses] are happening and have conversations, especially with our youth facility to make sure that we can keep our community safe,” said Jenny Chiamulera, a community health specialist for the Oneida County Health Department.
She says opioid overdoses are very much happening in rural communities in the Northwoods.
A large factor in that is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.
“Fentanyl is a very potent opioid. It’s much more potent than the other opioids that you would see on the market. And so very small amounts can increase the potential for the harms, for instance, like overdose.”
It’s usually pressed into pills or other illegal substances like meth.
People using substances sometimes don’t even realize there’s fentanyl in them.
“If you have someone who is using substances, knowing the harm reduction strategies that are available, for instance like Narcan, which is an overdose refer reversal drug or fentanyl test strips. I think that the point is to grow awareness and start having these conversations, especially with our youth, so that we can keep our community safe, we can keep our loved ones safe,” said Chiamulera.
Chiamulera encourages people to check out the Dose of Realitypage on the Department of Health Services website.
It has resources like how to talk to people about opioids, where to find things like Narcan and fentanyl strips, and how to get help for yourself or a loved one.
September is Recovery Month.
The Health Department is holding a couple of events to help raise awareness.
One is a harm reduction workshop on August 31st at Nicolet College from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Vivent Health will talk about different harm reduction strategies including Narcan training.
Then, September 14th is the “Light Up the Night for Recovery” at Hodag Park from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
“We bring in a ton of different types of recovery resources, different organizations, and they set up booths. We have this wonderful resource fair, where you can talk and learn more about the resources in our community. There's food available and we normally have music and guest speakers,” said Chiamulera.