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Pandemic causes increase in opioid-related deaths

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Opioid-related deaths increased because people are encouraged to stay home and away from group settings, which can make it harder for those struggling with addiction.

According to Gundersen Health System experts, there were 18 overdose deaths in La Crosse County between January and April of 2020--compared with 19 deaths total in 2019.

"People are laid off at work," Gundersen Health Specialist Dr. Stphanie Neuman said. "They're just home and they're looking unfortunately for ways to pass the time and so that relapse is an easy piece. Even though they may be laid off not making as much money and obviously those substances cost a substantial amount."

Dr. Neuman also said there was an uptick in prescription opioid use because it was the hospital's only choice when they had to eliminate non-emergency surgeries.

Gundersen Health System: Call 608-782-7300 or go to their Behavioral Health website for addiction services.

Great Rivers 211: Call 211 or go to their website. They are able to put you in touch with the resources where you live in our area. It is available 24/7/365.

Crisis Text Line: In the US, text 741741. Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via a medium people already use and trust: text. In Minnesota, text MN to 741741 to get resources.

Mayo Clinic: 608-392-9555

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Marcus Aarsvold

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