Drug and Alcohol Detox Guide For La Crosse, Wisconsin

La Crosse is a tranquil and pleasant riverside city in western Wisconsin. Every year, thousands of tourists flock to La Crosse to enjoy the beautiful vistas and riverboat tours. Due to its position on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, La Crosse blends some of its municipal and economic infrastructure within the larger La Crosse–Onalaska Metropolitan Area, which includes cities in both states.

La Crosse is a tranquil and pleasant riverside city in western Wisconsin. Every year, thousands of tourists flock to La Crosse to enjoy the beautiful vistas and riverboat tours. Due to its position on the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin, La Crosse blends some of its municipal and economic infrastructure within the larger La Crosse–Onalaska Metropolitan Area, which includes cities in both states.

According to the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse, 11% of households in the city fall below the poverty line, while over 40% of local families and individuals are living paycheck to paycheck. [1] This goes to show that, while La Crosse is a beautiful city from the outside looking in, it still has many ongoing issues that have only been exacerbated by larger economic and societal trends. The city saw a substantial decrease in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the residents of La Crosse are still struggling to recover. Economic anxiety has only exacerbated the growing addiction crisis in the city of La Crosse and the rest of La Crosse County.

Despite the rising cases of substance abuse in La Crosse, there is hope for those who are willing and able to seek out treatment. With clinics like Midwest Detox nearby, you can begin your recovery journey with the assistance of trained professionals. This way, you have a much better chance of getting sober and staying sober for good.

Even if you’re not ready for detox, it’s still important to consider the reality of substance abuse in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Continue reading to learn more about the current substance abuse crisis in La Crosse, and the resources available to help residents fight addiction.

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    The Ongoing Substance Abuse Crisis in La Crosse

    As of the 2020 census, La Crosse had a population of over 52,000. However, preliminary data indicates that the population is in decline, which has also contributed to economic stagnation in the city. This problem is somewhat unique to the city, especially when compared to the surrounding area. For example, La Crosse County has actually seen its population grow to more than 120,000 people.

    La Crosse’s substance abuse data is collected at the county level, which can make it a bit complicated to understand the relationship between the available data and actual addiction cases in the city. Nonetheless, it’s important to evaluate La Crosse County’s substance abuse, particularly when it comes to alcohol and opioid cases, as the vast majority originate in the city of La Crosse.

    La Crosse has seen some variations in alcohol abuse statistics over the past decade, though hospitalizations and deaths attributed to alcohol abuse have continually trended upward. Between 2014 and 2021, the number of alcohol-related emergency room visits rose by more than 13.2%. Strangely, the number of inpatient hospitalizations decreased by 3.8% over the same period. This may be an indication that many alcohol-related incidents involve involuntary emergency hospitalizations, however, the exact reasons are not entirely clear. Most tellingly, alcohol-attributable deaths in La Crosse County increased by more than 21% between 2014 and 2021. [2] You can see a full breakdown of these statistics in the table below:

    Alcohol Statistics in La Crosse County
    Year Emergency Room Inpatient Hospitalization Death
    2014 753 805 47
    2015 905 838 40
    2016 801 722 46
    2017 803 708 52
    2018 996 729 52
    2019 1054 745 57
    2020 877 743 59
    2021 853 774 57

    As you can see from the data, both emergency room visits and deaths peaked during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is consistent with nationwide trends. Additionally, data from 2022 and 2023 are not yet available, though preliminary figures indicate that alcohol abuse is still on the rise throughout La Crosse County. [3]

    While alcohol accounts for the majority of substance abuse cases and deaths in La Crosse County, other substances, particularly opioids, also contribute to the ongoing crisis. The trends have been similar between alcohol and opioids insofar as emergency room visits and deaths have increased, while inpatient hospitalizations have decreased. This may speak to a lack of availability or even pricing concerns when it comes to hospitalizations, but again, the reasons are not always easy to understand based on the data alone.

    Between 2014 and 2021, La Crosse County saw a 189% increase in opioid-attributable emergency room visits, and a 44.7% decrease in opioid-attributable inpatient hospitalizations. Over the same period, opioid deaths in La Crosse County increased by 266%. These figures have declined slightly since the peaks seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, though the data still shows that opioid abuse is increasing at an alarming rate. [4] [5] You can see the annual figures for opioid abuse in La Crosse County in the table below:

    Opioid Statistics in La Crosse County
    Year Emergency Room Inpatient Hospitalization Death
    2014 28 38 6
    2015 24 30 7
    2016 54 34 18
    2017 59 22 18
    2018 61 24 18
    2019 63 13 17
    2020 77 17 30
    2021 81 21 22

    Alcohol and opioids (both prescription and non-prescription) are the primary catalysts of substance abuse in La Crosse County. Illicit recreational drugs such as cocaine are not very common. However, one surprising fact is that meth is more common in La Crosse County than it is in most other counties throughout western Wisconsin. On average, the county sees about 8 deaths from meth abuse every year. [6]

    While all of these statistics are frightening and point to a growing problem in La Crosse County, it is necessary to differentiate county-level and city-level data. Again, all of the city’s data is collected at the county level, but it is not always clear how many hospitalizations and deaths actually occurred in the city of La Crosse and how many occurred in other cities and towns throughout the county. That said, it is estimated that nearly 60% of all substance abuse hospitalizations and deaths recorded in La Crosse County occurred in the city of La Crosse.

    How La Crosse Compares to the Rest of Wisconsin

    Sadly, La Crosse does not compare very favorably to the state of Wisconsin as a whole. This is very concerning when it comes to both alcohol and opioid abuse, as Wisconsin has very high rates of both. For instance, it is estimated that 1 in 4 Wisconsin adults engage in binge drinking on a regular basis. [7]

    In 2021, the state of Wisconsin recorded a total of 35,036 alcohol-attributable emergency room visits and 33,612 inpatient hospitalizations. Based on the figures that came out of La Crosse, the county ranked within the top 10 worst counties in the state for emergency room visits, and the 11th worst county in the state for inpatient hospitalizations, despite the continual decline in the latter statistic. However, when it comes to saving lives threatened by alcohol abuse, La Crosse does substantially better than the rest of Wisconsin, with the state recording an average of 55 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 residents per year, compared to just 48.4 in La Crosse.

    The data related to opioid abuse tells a similar story. In 2021, La Crosse recorded 18.5 opioid-attributable deaths per 100,000 residents, compared to 24.6 across the entire state. However, La Crosse saw a higher average of emergency room visits than Wisconsin — 68.2 per 100,000 residents in La Crosse compared to 53.7 in Wisconsin. In keeping with the declining rate of inpatient hospitalizations, La Crosse saw a lower average of opioid hospitalizations at 17.7 per 100,000, compared to a state average of 19.2.

    You might find it challenging to figure out exactly what all of this data means, and that’s understandable. Substance abuse statistics are not always black and white, and while La Crosse is better off than many other cities and counties in Wisconsin in some respects, it’s also worse off in many others. To get a better understanding of exactly how substance abuse affects local residents, let’s look at some of the most recent findings related to overdoses and deaths in La Crosse, Wisconsin:

    • Annual Overdoses: 97
    • Alcohol-Related Deaths: 32
    • Opioid-Related Deaths: 11
    • Non-Opioid Drug-Related Deaths: 3

    Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Efforts in La Crosse

    La Crosse manages an online directory to help city residents find and access substance abuse therapy groups and treatment programs. Like many mid-sized cities in Wisconsin, La Crosse also offers free-to-access prescription drug and needle drop-off boxes. The county of La Crosse has the La Crosse County Prevention Network, which, as the name implies, aims to prevent addiction by educating kids and young adults on the dangers of substance abuse.

    As a complement to these county programs, Wisconsin runs the State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (SCAODA), which manages dozens of programs and initiatives across the state. La Crosse residents seek out help from detox clinics like Midwest Detox, as well as quality inpatient rehab clinics like Wellbrook Recovery.

    Drug and Alcohol Detox in La Crosse, Wisconsin

    La Crosse, Wisconsin may offer amazing views and immediate access to the Mississippi River, but it has plenty of internal struggles to contend with. In addition to an economy that is fighting to come back from the lows of the COVID-19 pandemic, La Crosse has to deal with incredibly high rates of alcohol, opioid, and even meth abuse. While there are some indicators that treatment resources have become more accessible in recent years, the data shows that many drug and alcohol abusers are foregoing traditional treatment options, often for financial reasons.

    Fortunately, the situation in La Crosse is far from hopeless. In addition to city, county, and state-level resources, La Crosse residents can seek out treatment for themselves or a loved one at Midwest Detox. When you contact us at Midwest Detox, we will work with you to develop a plan that directly addresses your unique needs and concerns. Once you’re ready, you can check into our modern facility and cleanse your body of toxic and addictive substances. Not only will we help monitor and control withdrawal symptoms, but we will also give you the tools you need to continue your journey to sobriety.

    When it comes to addiction, there is no time like the present. So, if you or someone you love is in need of drug or alcohol detox, reach out to Midwest Detox today and begin your journey to recovery.