Treatment search

UW, WHA partnership in hopes of bringing better addiction treatment options to rural Wisconsin


MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Hospital Association and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health are partnering to help people in rural Wisconsin access addiction treatment.

UW professor Dr. Randall Brown said that based on his team’s research, there is a clear need right now within rural communities across the state.

“We found that many trends are going in the wrong direction when it comes to drug addiction, especially when it comes to alcohol, opioids and methamphetamine,” he said.

The main source of this problem, he said, is that specialized treatment facilities – especially those located in rural areas – may not have the capacity to fully address the problem.

Wisconsin’s new Rural Health and Substance Abuse Clinical Support Program launched this month, training rural health workers to care for people who show signs of substance abuse and dependence.

It’s an approach that Nadine Allen of the Wisconsin Hospital Association says is unconventional.

“It’s a bit different and I think we’re always trying to continually improve,” she said.

However, Allen thinks it’s a necessary step forward.

“(We have to) find the best way to meet our patients where they are. Not everyone can be near one of these facilities and receive the care they need,” Allen said.

The hope is that eventually these trained healthcare workers will be able to provide on-call, hands-on support, delivering resources to those who need it most.

“You really can have a huge impact on someone’s life,” Brown said.

The program, funded by a $1 million grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program, will provide rural healthcare workers with on-call support when working with a patient struggling with addiction.