Dane County experiencing increase in medical emergencies for alcohol overconsumption, substance abuse

A generic ambulance

MADISON, Wis. — Dane County is seeing a significant increase in the number of medical emergencies related to alcohol overconsumption and substance abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic, a release said.

Between Feb. 1 and May 10 there was a 37.9% increase in ambulance calls for people with substance abuse emergencies in comparison to a year ago. There were 666 EMS calls in that time frame, which is 483 more from the same time period a year ago.

“These numbers highlight the countless layers of this global pandemic and its many pervasive impacts on families and our communities,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said. “As we focus on the health and financial well-being of our community, we must make sure people also know about resources like the Recovery Coach program run by Safe Communities to get people help and confront addiction.”

The report from Dane County Emergency Management found there were 18 days in the time period where there were 10 or more 911 calls per day for substance abuse.

“Whether its drugs or alcohol, we know these are challenging times for those who struggle with mental illness and addiction,” said Cheryl Wittke, director of the Safe Communities Coalition. “Our team of recovery coaches have lived experience and know what it’s like to feel hopeless and struggling, making them the perfect community resource right now to help get those who want to change their lives take the first steps toward getting help.”

Those looking to contact a Safe Communities recover coach should email referral@safercommunity.net or call 608-228-1278.

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