A closer look at opioid overdoses in Wisconsin

A hospital bed at Bellin Health in Green Bay. (WLUK image)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLUK) -- Step inside Bellin Health and emergency medicine doctor Paul Casey has seen the effects of opioid addiction.

"A patient dropped off at the main entrance of to the ED basically clinically dead, not breathing, no pulse and blue but still warm so we immediately had to rush out and bring the patient immediately back to the ED and there was a high suspicion that it was a heroin overdose," Casey said.

Casey says at least once a day, the hospital has someone with an opioid-related issue.

Data collected from July 2016 through September 2017 by the Centers for Disease Control shows data from 16 states that have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic.

The CDC looked at emergency department visits for opioid overdoses.

Numbers show the biggest increase is the Midwest at 70 percent.

Wisconsin has seen a 109 percent increase in the number of emergency department visits for opioid overdoses.

"That's alarming because if you look at a graph over the past 20 years, the rise in opioid has risen markedly. It's become the top cause of death in terms of overdoses," Casey said.

As FOX 11 reported in January, Bellin has recovery coaches to assist patients after an overdose.

Mandy Suthers is one of those coaches.

"Our main goal when we get in there is to find out how the person is feeling on what their thoughts are if they even want to get sober or not or if they want to start that pathway. If they do, our main objective is to try to get them into treatment if we can," said Mandy Suthers, DarJun Recovery Community Center.

Bellin says the recovery coaches have already been called to assist patients this month.

Casey said recovery is key, "and there's hope to get out of this addiction cycle. The unfortunate thing about opioid addiction is withdrawal is so incredibly painful, people will go through extraordinary lengths to get their next fix.

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