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October 20, 2018

9/24/2018 8:15:00 AM
Local pathway program added to provide all around recovery services
September is National Recovery Month, which focuses on bringing awareness and education for mental health and substance abuses-circumstances that have greatly affected the nation, as well as the southwest Wisconsin area.
Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program (SWCAP) has been known in the area for offering support programs throughout Iowa, Grant, Green, LaFayette, and Richland Counties. In December of 2017, the organization received a five-year grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH).
This grant helped to create Southwestern Wisconsin Recovery Pathways Program that will provide wrap around services for individuals in recovery from drug and alcohol addictions.
Kimberly Hill, Director of the Southwestern Wisconsin Recovery Pathways Program stated that there is very little recovery networking in the rural areas. She had been a substance abuse counselor prior to her current position.
"I worked at a treatment center, and it would break my heart to send people back to the rural areas where there would be no recovery meetings in some of the rural areas," Hill said.
The idea behind the wrap around services is to not only help individuals in recovery, but to ensure that their journey in recovery is successful.
"It's hitting people really hard," Hill said. "It's your neighbor, your best friend, people you know."
Plans for the program include working with medical and counseling services in obtaining IOP (intensive outpatient) for recovering addicts, and provide job skill services through the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). Plans also include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Smart Recovery, faith based, and other recovery meetings.
Once wrap around services are in place, the next phase in the program includes finding properties suited for recovery houses. The Oxford Model has been used as a resource for recovery housing. The model includes developing self run recovery homes, with no funding coming from taxpayers, or other outside resources.
There have not been any decisions made on recovery housing, and may not happen until the first of the year. It is more now about building relationships with the community as well as business professionals. The program also has the funds to hire a peer support specialist for three or four years. The peer support specialist must be certified (can be funded by the program), and have real life experience in recovery, living their life, and able to provide resources for those also in recovery.
"We just want Dodgeville to know we are here, and we are here to help," Hill said.
There are other community efforts being made to address the substance abuse crisis. Substance Use Taskforce meetings take place the third Thursday of each month at 2 p.m. at Upland Hills Health. A recovery rally at the State Capitol is also scheduled for September 22 from 11 to 2 p.m. Community members are invited to both efforts.
The program also looks to address the stigma behind opioid addiction, and to understand what exactly addiction is. Scientific research states that addiction is a chronic brain disease. Once a person makes the choice to partake in heroin, chemicals change the make up of neurons in the brain.
"It's not a moral failure," Hill said. "It's as if the brain has been hijacked. The only way out is some sort of recovery."
Questions regarding the Southwestern Wisconsin Recovery Pathways Program, and details on recovery housing can be addressed to Kimberly Hill at SWCAP 149 North Iowa Street in Dodgeville.
"This is Dodgeville as a community, and it's going on in the community," Hill said. "We can pretend it doesn't exist, but it does. Why not make a difference rather than have it get worse? That's what's going to happen if we don't do something now."

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