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  • June 05, 2024 2:00 PM | Anonymous

    Regional centers will serve those with mental health and substance use needs

    Wisconsin has taken another step forward to help people with mental health and substance use emergencies with the opening of five crisis stabilization centers for adults. Crisis stabilization facilities support people who can't stay in their community safely, but don't need to be hospitalized. Funded by the Department of Health Services (DHS), the centers provide a dedicated location for this level of care for most counties.

    "Whether it's been declaring 2023 the Year of Mental Health, securing new investments for school-based mental health and other initiatives, or supporting the launch of the state's 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, we've been working to find solutions to the burgeoning mental health crisis facing our state since 2019," said Gov. Tony Evers. "This includes bolstering our state's crisis care infrastructure so that folks can access the care and support they need when and where they need it—especially in an emergency. While the opening of these new facilities is a tremendous step forward, we know there's far more to do, and we're committed to building on these efforts to ensure every Wisconsinite has access to mental and behavioral health care regardless of their ZIP code."

    View the entire news release here.

  • April 12, 2024 3:17 PM | Anonymous

    The Wisconsin Medical Society (WisMed) presented David Galbis-Reig, MD, DFASAM with the Presidential Citation Award. WisMed’s President has the privilege of presenting a Presidential Citation to a physician or non-physician who has made a significant contribution to medicine or public health.

    Dr. Galbis-Reig received his Doctor of Medicine degree from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia in 1999 and completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2004. He is board certified and involved in Maintenance of Certification in Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine and in the sub-specialty of Addiction Medicine by the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

    As the Medical Director of Addiction Services at Ascension All Saints Hospital, he has passionately advocated for appropriate medical treatment of patients with mental health and addictive diseases for the past 20 years. He is the Medical Director of Addiction Services at Racine County Behavioral Health Services and the Kenosha KARE Center. He is a Past President of the Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine (WISAM) and the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation.

    “Dr. Galbis-Reig’s compassionate care and unwavering commitment to his patients who struggle with addiction has transformed the lives of countless individuals in our community,” said Kristin McManmon, Ascension All Saints Hospital President. “This recognition is a testament to his dedication, expertise and tireless efforts in addressing one of the most pressing public health challenges of our time. We are grateful for his outstanding contributions to Ascension Wisconsin and the positive impact he’s had in the community.”

    Dr. Galbis-Reig led WISAM to partner with DHS to expand the availability of providers who can treat opioid use disorder by providing twelve buprenorphine trainings throughout Wisconsin between 2019 and 2021. He is an active member of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) where he serves as the Chair of the Distinguished Fellows Committee and is the Chair for the BEST Study Tool Subcommittee. He has contributed to policy decisions in the state as a former member of the Wisconsin Marijuana Prevention Ad-Hoc Committee of the State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (SCAODA). He is a current Board Member of the HOPE Council in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

    He is the current Medical Director for the Ascension All Saints Women of Worth Intensive Outpatient Program. Women of Worth is a donor funded, family-centered substance abuse treatment program in Racine and Kenosha counties designed specifically for women. Dr. Galbis-Reig’s commitment to the program and his relationship with its donors has inspired over $500,000 in donor contributions toward Addiction Service at Ascension All Saints.

    View Full WMS Press Release Here

  • April 03, 2024 12:35 PM | Anonymous

    On April 1, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) submitted its plan for the annual share of $7505 million of opioid settlement funds to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance (JFC). As a result of settlements reached by the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Wisconsin will receive $36 million this year that will be used to prevent opioid misuse while continuing and strengthening successful efforts for harm reduction, treatment, and recovery.  

    “This is a thoughtful plan built from the advice we received through surveys, listening sessions, and roundtable discussions, as well as reviews of data and already existing programs, and by identifying the needs that still exist,” said Kirsten Johnson, DHS Secretary-designee. “We want to thank our partners, providers, and people with experience with opioid misuse and their family and friends, for sharing their ideas that helped us shape a plan that moves us toward the goal of ending the state’s opioid epidemic.”  

    Attorney General Josh Kaul added, “The efforts of the Wisconsin Department of Justice and others to get accountability in connection with the opioid epidemic have secured the recovery of approximately 3/4 of a billion dollars. It’s essential that these funds be used as effectively as possible to combat the epidemic and save lives.”  

    View the entire news release.

  • February 15, 2024 11:24 AM | Anonymous

    Feedback from statewide listening sessions and surveys recommend how funds should be used

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has awarded 13 grants worth $830,000 over the next two years to community organizations throughout Wisconsin to help address the youth and young adult vaping epidemic. Funding for the Vaping Prevention and Treatment Initiatives (VPTI) grants comes from current payments to Wisconsin as part of a $14.7 million multiyear JUUL Settlement announced by the Wisconsin Department of Justice in September 2022.

    The DHS Tobacco Prevention and Control Program hosted virtual statewide listening sessions and online surveys in summer 2023 to gather input from residents about vaping. The data collected helped drive the decision to support local organizations addressing the vaping epidemic, along with statewide efforts already in progress.

    "The concerns and ideas shared by Wisconsinites show the impact vaping has in communities across the state," said DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson. "Through these grant awards, local organizations will protect teens and young adults in their communities from the dangers of nicotine addiction."

    View the entire news release
  • January 15, 2024 9:02 AM | Anonymous

    Discussing What’s Next for Medical Marijuana in Wisconsin

    As states across the country loosen their laws on marijuana, momentum is gaining for a medical plan in Wisconsin. Assembly Republicans unveiled legislation this month that would allow residents with chronic diseases to access the drug from state-run dispensaries. But Senate Republicans have been less receptive to the concept and Democrats are pushing for full legalization. Meanwhile, the state’s doctors say there hasn’t been enough research on its efficacy. 

    A Wisconsin Health News virtual panel will examine what’s next for medical marijuana in the state and what impact it could have on patients.  


    • Dr. David Galbis-Reig, Past President, Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine
    • Rep. Darrin Madison, D-Milwaukee
    • Rep. Patrick Snyder, R-Schofield


  • December 08, 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    Statewide tour will include local community leaders and partners to talk about what we can do to save lives

    The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) are announcing a series of roundtable discussions to hear directly from local communities who are working toward preventing overdose deaths in the state and helping Wisconsinites struggling with opioid use.

    “We are calling these roundtable discussions a “Dose of Reality” because we want to hear the reality of Wisconsinites experiences in their own communities,” said DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson. “We want to understand our partners’ current situation, hear what is needed to address opioid use in their community, and celebrate their successes.”

    Last year, 1,421 Wisconsinites died by opioid overdose. There were also 2,530 opioid-related trips to emergency departments, and 978 hospitalizations. Drugs mixed with fentanyl account for most of the overdose deaths.

    View the entire news release.

  • November 02, 2023 3:44 PM | Anonymous

    Northwest Milwaukee site to join effort to test model emphasizing care coordination in the treatment of substance use disorder

    The Department of Health Services (DHS) will be adding a fourth site to a program initiated in 2020 that pilots a hub and spoke approach to treating Wisconsin Medicaid members affected by substance use disorder and physical and behavioral health issues that challenge their efforts in recovery. Vin Baker Recovery of Milwaukee was selected in a process earlier this year. The organization's startup costs as a pilot program participant will be funded through Wisconsin’s 2022 share of the National Prescription Opiate Litigation settlement. Nearly all of those funds have been distributed to agencies providing prevention, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery support.

    Under the pilot, individual organizations take the lead as a “hub” on the care of people in their program, ensuring that substance use disorder treatment and other health care needs are addressed. Hub teams include peer providers who have lived experience with substance use to improve member engagement with their treatment. Each team develops individualized integrated care plans, implements those plans through connections and referrals, and facilitates members’ treatment across different settings. Each hub then works with a network of “spoke” organizations that provide a range of services customized to further address each member’s unique circumstances. 

    “Adding a site to this promising pilot will increase our understanding of how this model works in another setting,” said DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson. “Better yet, it means more members can receive individualized services and improved access to the necessary physical health care providers, prescribers, and behavior health specialists, leading to better overall health outcomes.”

    View the entire news release.

  • November 01, 2023 10:35 AM | Anonymous

    More than 31,000 calls, texts, and chats for support answered since 2018

    The Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline reached a significant milestone this month – five years of connecting state residents experiencing substance use concerns with local services and support. This free and confidential service supported by a grant from the Department Health Services (DHS) and managed by 211 Wisconsin debuted in October 2018 as part of efforts by state officials to reduce drug overdoses. Since then, staff have answered 31,591 calls, texts, and chats from all 72 Wisconsin counties and nine of the 11 federally recognized Tribal nations with members in Wisconsin. These contacts resulted in 78,646 referrals to agencies providing substance use disorder assessment services, counseling, inpatient care, residential care, outpatient care, medication-assisted treatment, and supports from people in recovery from a substance use disorder trained to help others.

    “For five years, the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline has offered people hope at a time when they may feel overwhelmed by what steps to take for health and healing,” said DHS Secretary-designee Kirsten Johnson. “Staffed by caring, trained specialists, it is a safe, trusted resource to turn to for information. We are grateful for the work of 211 Wisconsin and all the people who have made this service a success.”

    View the entire news release.

  • October 26, 2023 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    Dear WISAM Members,

    Happy October! It is with both gratitude and hope that I share my outgoing newsletter as President of the Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine. I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past two years.

    As an organization, we have continued to be very active in educational, legislative, and treatment areas. We have published letters to the editor on salient topics, remain with representation on multiple state councils (SCAODA, MEB, WMS COL, CSB, Medicaid Advisory Committee), and have continued being part of the Good Samaritan Coalition to change how people are treated after an overdose.

    We have had two annual conferences during my tenure, and the most recent in the Wisconsin Dells had many great first experiences for WISAM at this conference. This included poster presentations, art displays from people in recovery, and more regional representation than has ever occurred before! We are looking at being part of future regional conferences and it is a grand opportunity for us to find support from other states and discuss how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the treatment of addiction. We were privileged to have national keynote speakers Yngvild Olsen, SAMHSA, and Dr. Brian Hurley, President of ASAM, interspersed among many intriguing discussions ranging from Harm Reduction (Dr. Elizabeth Salisbury-Afshar) to Cannabis Legislation Considerations (Dr. Doris Gundersen).

    The COVID pandemic has officially been sunsetted, but the impact on telemedicine and our ability to provide access to services continues to be noted. For instance, addiction treatment providers and researchers proved that people can effectively access life-saving treatment without needing in-person visits. The DEA has just extended pandemic-era waivers for controlled prescription prescribing until December 2024.

    Wisconsin DHS changed requirements for treating substance use disorders. On the heels of those changes, federal law changed so that prescribers no longer need a Buprenorphine waiver to treat people with this treatment from any office. This paved the way for WISAM to develop and implement an 8-hour SUD-focused training for primary care providers. We will just need to hang on for the ride and support each other through the next inevitable changes with an eye towards novel partnerships and shared solutions!

    It has been an honor to lead this organization for the past two years and be a part of good ideas becoming reality. I remain inspired by our membership and hope that we can continue to support each other moving forward in treating addiction and saving lives.

    Thanks for your interest and participation with WISAM - please stay involved with Open Exchanges in 2024!

    In gratitude,

    Dr. Ritu Bhatnagar, MD MPH FASAM DFAPA
  • October 14, 2023 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    National Addiction Treatment Week is a pivotal, annual event that spotlights the addiction treatment gap and champions compassionate, evidence-based approaches to care. Supported by the Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine.  This weeklong initiative amplifies three life-saving messages:

    1. Addiction is a chronic, treatable medical disease.
    2. Effective treatments are available.
    3. Recovery is not only possible but achievable.

    By sharing the stories and experiences of dedicated practitioners who provide care to patients with addiction, we aim to end the stigma surrounding addiction and encourage medical professionals to embrace individualized, compassionate addiction care.

    Why Should You Get Involved?

    This year, we are showcasing how the treatment of addiction has a profound positive impact on both a physician's career and a patient's life. By actively participating, you can:

    1. Learn from Your Peers: Gain invaluable insights from firsthand accounts shared by addiction medicine specialists who have made transformative differences in their patients' lives through evidence-based care.

    2. Be a Stigma Buster: Your active engagement plays a pivotal role in eradicating the stigma attached to addiction and fostering a more supportive environment for individuals seeking help.

    3. Inspire Lasting Change: By sharing these compelling stories, you inspire fellow medical professionals to explore the world of compassionate and individualized addiction care.

    How Can You Participate and Access the Toolkit?

    To take an active role in this important initiative and access the comprehensive toolkit, click here.

    Your involvement will elevate awareness, reduce stigma, and ignite transformative change in the landscape of addiction treatment. Explore the toolkit, share your own experiences, and actively engage on social media using #TreatmentWeek.

    Unlock the potential of National Addiction Treatment Week 2023 and join us in shaping a future where compassionate, evidence-based addiction care is accessible to all who need it. Your commitment is invaluable, and we are excited to embark on this remarkable journey with you.

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Wisconsin Society of Addiction Medicine
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Kimberly, WI 54136

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