Crawford County waging campaign against opioid crisis

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By Ted Pennekamp

 

The Crawford County Health and Human Services Department is engaging in a campaign to fight the opioid epidemic in Southwestern Wisconsin, particularly in Crawford County.

Crawford County Nurse Cindy Riniker applied for a $20,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and received $17,999.21, of which $13,060.21 will be used to wage a media campaign, including four billboards, newspaper advertisements, radio spots, advertisements in Star Cinema of Prairie du Chien and posters. Riniker said Crawford County will be contracting with La Crosse County to put the media marketing campaign together.

“We would like to educate and bring awareness about opioids and other illegal drugs,” said Riniker. “We are trying to enhance public health awareness and, hopefully, curtail the problem and help to control it before it spreads further.”

Riniker said she was informed that two billboards were put up on May 6. Motorists can view one billboard near Ferryville. The other billboard is near Soldiers Grove. The billboards will run from May 6 through June 30, and will tell readers to not get hooked on opioids. The billboards will show a fishing bobber, a line with a hook and a pill bottle.

A billboard near Prairie du Chien and another near Boscobel will run from Aug. 19 through Oct. 13.

In addition to the media campaign, $4,929 of the grant is allocated for updating Crawford County’s emergency command center.

“We’re seeing some opioids in Crawford County,” said Riniker, who noted that heroin has been a problem in La Crosse for many years, but in recent years it has also made inroads in Crawford County as well.

“It’s not just with younger people either,” said Riniker. “Elderly people are at risk too with pain pills and other prescriptions.”

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine and many others.

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