The state has appointed a Director of Opiate Initiatives in the wake of record numbers of overdoses, and he sat down the TODAY'S TMJ4 on Tuesday.
Paul Krupski, a Brown Deer native and University of Wisconsin Green Bay graduate has only been on the job for less than two weeks. He previously worked in the Department of Health Services Division of Care and Services as a prevention coordinator.
He hopes to bring his prevention skills to his new position. Along with effective treatment, he believes recovery is possible.
"A good part of my position is going to be making sure all those efforts and those grants are coordinated and streamlined," Krupski said. "In a way that the left hand always knows what the right hand is doing.”
Krupski was appointed by the Department of Health Services Secretary after Gov. Scott Walker’s Opioid Task Force recommended the position be created. The Task Force has been working since a 2016 Executive Order by the governor to combat the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin.
The numbers are staggering. In 2016, 827 people died from opioid-related causes. In 2015 that number was 614 and a decade ago it was 333. This year isn’t faring much better. Preliminary numbers show 534 people have died from opioid-related causes in the first 10 months of the year.
The state of Wisconsin has set up a comprehensive website offering everything from statistics on the problem, to ways you can get help if you think you or a family member has a problem.