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New Grant to Help Address Meth Resurgence in WI

Wisconsin's State Crime Lab says in 2018, it responded to more meth cases than it did heroin cases. (Adobe Stock)
Wisconsin's State Crime Lab says in 2018, it responded to more meth cases than it did heroin cases. (Adobe Stock)

September 21, 2020

DODGEVILLE, Wis. -- A federal grant that provides funding for opioid prevention and treatment has expanded its scope to include methamphetamine.

That's welcome news for states like Wisconsin, seeing a resurgence in meth activity.

The Health Services Department said under new federal guidelines, the nearly $17 million grant from the State Opioid Response Grant Program can also cover abuse of certain stimulants.

Kimberly Hill, director of Recovery Pathways for the Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program, which operates a recovery program and two sober-living homes in southwestern Wisconsin, said combating opioid use is still a priority, but other trends need focus, too.

"You know, opioids are important, but man, meth is really running rampant," Hill said.

Between 2014 and 2019, Wisconsin saw a nearly 300% increase in fatal overdoses from meth use.

The department stresses the grant will keep funding existing programs, but because the amount is larger than the previous federal grant, there may be opportunities for providers and specialists to apply for some of the extra money.

Hill said access to the additional funds would be a big help for her rural region. She said the current grant money she receives focuses on opioid abuse, and it's difficult when they have to turn away people who are struggling with other forms of addiction.

Hill noted it's even harder when their nearest option is 60 miles away.

"In the five counties we work with in southwestern Wisconsin, there's fewer resources, you know, less dollars," Hill said.

But Hill explained many meth users also use opioids, which can sometimes help them qualify for her program's services.

In recent years, treatment and recovery providers across the state have asked for more flexibility in how they use grant money.

The state said for this federal grant, the rules are very strict, but at least they now cover a wider range of substance-use disorders.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - WI