JUNEAU — The Dodge County Human Services and Health Department has joined together with the Fond du Lac County’s Department of Community Programs to receive $666,667 to fund an regional opioid treatment center.

“I’m super excited,” Dodge County Human Services and Health Department director Becky Bell said. “I’m over the moon.”

The Wisconsin Department of Health Series awarded thee grants. The partnership of the health and human services departments in Dodge and Fond du Lac counties will provide treatment for opioid addiction in Adams, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Juneau, Manitowoc and Marquette counties.

The two counties submitted the joint proposal because of how the grant was structured. Bell worked in Fond du Lac County before coming to Dodge County.

“I have some ties to Fond du Lac, and we have had some conversations on joining forces,” Bell said. “The grant required a regional approach with more than one county applying.”

Dodge County is designated a high-priority area because of the high number of deaths in Dodge County. The number of deaths from drug overdoses rose from 14 in 2014 to at least 26 in 2016. Dodge County Medical Examiner P.J. Schoebel said final numbers for 2017 are not completed yet. However, it appears at least 20 people in Dodge County died from drug overdoses last year.

Bell said that they have not received a final contract yet, but they have been told they could receive the funding on April 1.

The grant includes contracting with Justice Point, a nonprofit organization from Milwaukee County that promotes evidence-informed criminal justice programs, practices and policies.

Bell said Justice Point is already used in Dodge County. For this grant, the program will be housed out of Dodge County Human Services, but will travel to Fond du Lac as well.

The AODA counselors in the counties cannot provide all the resources that addicts need sometime, Bell said. Justice Point will step in and help with things like housing, employment and transportation.

“To try to treat addiction while you are homeless impedes recovery,” Bell said. “We want to meet all their needs and set up the best success outcomes possible. In order to do that, we have to look at the environmental factors.”

The grant will also fund residential treatment, detoxification services, medication treatments and even financing transportation for treatments.

Bell said if they are successful, there is an opportunity for an additional four years of funding.

Dodge County Human Services already provides confidential help to those fighting substance abuse, from outpatient day treatments to residential treatment for those needing additional services including detoxification services.

To access help through the county, a person does not need insurance, Bell said.

Dodge County Human Services does not report drug use to law enforcement, Bell said.

Anyone who needs help or needs information about helping someone with an addiction can contact an intake worker by calling 920-386-4094. Those in crisis may ask to speak to a crisis worker. However, when crisis workers are not available, law enforcement should be contacted to receive help fast.

Reporter at The Daily Citizen