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Combating the opioid crisis by coming together to HEAL

La Crosse, WI (WXOW)  – Every year opioids contribute to thousands of deaths around Wisconsin. On Thursday a group of organizations unveiled the Alliance to HEAL. The initiative aims to stop the devastation caused by opioids in La Crosse County. 

HEAL stands for Halting the Effects of Addiction Locally, with a goal to identify and respond to gaps in the recovery process in the area.

With funding from the La Crosse Community Foundation, La Crosse County Health Department, along with both Gundersen Health System and Mayo Clinic Health Systems, the initiative combines resources to focus community efforts into a common goal.

“It’s a commitment to work locally with conviction and unity together,” Executive Director of the La Crosse Community Foundation Jamie Schloegel explains.

“To accept what we’ve tried and failed at and to be bold in coming up with new solutions, guided by the expertise of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and to try them here in La Crosse. We need to do something different, we can’t wait any longer.”

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) researches community responses to opioid crises across the US, applying effective strategies they’ve learned.

The Alliance to Heal will use that research and information to find recovery strategies that work for La Crosse.

“We recognize and understand from the start that change takes time, and we are trying new and bold things that have never been tried before. So we wanted to be smart with getting everyone at the table right away,” Schloegel describes, “Finding the resources we knew we were going to need immediately and not allow that to be a barrier anymore in being able to address this crisis.”

The Alliance is in search of people to join their leadership and design teams. Contact Al Bliss with the La Crosse County Health Department at 608) 789-4820 to learn more about openings.

Peter Lenz

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