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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the upcoming budget would include increases in funds for mental health programs and opioid overdose prevention.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced the upcoming budget would include increases in funds for mental health programs and opioid overdose prevention.

Dane County boosts funds for mental health, opioid crisis in 2019 budget

Dane County’s 2019 budget will include extra funds aimed at improving the county’s response to mental health and opioid-related incidents.

The annual budget, which will be released in full on Oct. 1, will contains the largest increase in funding for frontline mental health services in county history, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said Thursday.

Part of those funds will benefit the emergency mobile mental crisis program will receive a $320,000 increase in order to add three more crisis workers to the program in addition to the two existing employees, who work within the Madison Police Department. One of the additional three will work with the Dane County Sheriff’s office.

The mobile mental crisis program, introduced by the county in 2016, received more than 41,000 calls for assistance in 2017, county officials said.

The budget will also include $25,000 for crisis intervention training focusing on de-escalation for local law enforcement.

As part of the county’s ongoing fight against the opioid epidemic, the budget will include $125,000 for Emergency Department to Recovery and Jail to Recovery programs, operated by Madison-based nonprofit Safe Communities. The Emergency Department to Recovery program, which aims to get individuals into treatment after drug-related emergency room visits, reported a 90 percent success rate.

The county will also devote $10,000 to making Narcan, a drug that can reverse effects of opioid overdoses, more readily available throughout the county. Through the new funds, the county will be able to give Narcan to more than 125 county businesses.

Parisi, who has aggressively gone after drug manufacturers for their role in the opioid crisis, said more than 200 heroin overdoses occurred in Madison during the first eight months of 2018, already surpassing 2017’s total of 142. Parisi also said overdose deaths have risen 120 percent since last year.

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