Drug and Alcohol Detox Guide For Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Located in Wisconsin, the city of Oshkosh sits between two major bodies of water. Additionally, the Fox River, which serves as a bridge between two lakes on either side of the city, winds its way through the heart of Oshkosh, lending to the city’s unmistakable charm. While the city's scenic beauty makes it an attractive place to live, work, and raise a family, Oshkosh has been facing its fair share of challenges. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city saw a substantial drop in the average household income and a surge in poverty rates, intensifying the already concerning addiction crisis prevalent in Oshkosh, Winnebago County, and the rest of Wisconsin.
But Oshkosh is no stranger to substance abuse, a problem the city has grappled with for the better part of two decades. Alcohol and opioids are among the top culprits, though Oshkosh also has to deal with a growing influx of illicit street drugs. The spread of dangerous substances like fentanyl has only worsened the issue. The city's struggle to curb substance misuse places additional strain on resources provided at the county and state levels, which are already not enough to completely cut off addiction at the source.
That said, Oshkosh is a close-knit community with a strong sense of perseverance and resilience. While the city authorities tend to use punitive measures to crack down on drug crimes, many residents band together to help those in need. There are also ways to easily access rehabilitation in Oshkosh and the surrounding area. More specifically, Midwest Detox in nearby Brookfield provides quality detoxification to locals struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
Although detox is a critical first step towards recovery, understanding the impact of substance abuse on your loved ones and the broader community is also important to help you develop the strength to achieve sobriety. Continue reading to learn more about substance abuse in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and the resources available to help you on your journey to a sober life.
The Ongoing Substance Abuse Crisis in Oshkosh
The population of Oshkosh has experienced consistent growth over the past few decades, rising from around 56,000 in 1990 to over 66,000 as of 2021. The city is the administrative hub of Winnebago County (home to 171,000 people) and is recognized as the 9th largest city in Wisconsin. However, acquiring accurate data relating to substance abuse within Oshkosh can be complex, as most information is collected and managed at the state and county levels. Despite the complexity, the data acquired from Winnebago County remains a crucial resource when evaluating the state of addiction within the city of Oshkosh.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Winnebago County recorded 96 deaths due to alcohol abuse in 2021. Back in 2014, the number was notably lower, at just 58 deaths. It's important, however, to acknowledge that the number of deaths dropped from its peak during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the county logging 84 deaths due to alcohol abuse in 2022 alone. 
The statistics associated with opioid-related deaths in Winnebago County are less definitive. The county recorded a decrease from 24 opioid-related deaths in 2014 to a mere 13 in 2019. Unexpectedly though, there was a sharp escalation in deaths in 2020, possibly attributable to the pandemic. The numbers for 2020 and 2021 stood at 33 and 31 opioid-related deaths, respectively. While full data for 2022 and 2023 is still pending, early signs suggest a continual rise in opioid deaths in Winnebago County. 
It’s also important to consider the impact of addictive substances besides opioids and alcohol. In Winnebago County, stimulants such as cocaine and crystal meth are less prevalent but still cause multiple deaths nearly every year. It's also challenging to ascertain the exact number of deaths due to the use of multiple drugs at once. Various autopsy reports highlight the presence of more than one substance, without necessarily identifying a singular substance as the primary cause of death. 
Keep in mind that the statistics mentioned above are countywide. Although Oshkosh is the county's largest city, it represents just 38.6% of the total Winnebago County population. This implies that the overall figures so far do not precisely mirror the city-specific death rates.
Based on initial data from the city and local autopsy reports, it's estimated that in 2021, 53 of the county's 96 alcohol deaths and 17 of the county's 31 opioid deaths occurred in Oshkosh. Given the population demographics, this suggests that addiction and substance abuse are significantly more prevalent in Oshkosh than they are in the rest of Winnebago County.
How Oshkosh Compares to the Rest of Wisconsin
Understanding the impact of substance abuse on Oshkosh and Winnebago County is vital, but it’s also important to see how these figures compare to the rest of the state. The broader trends within the state of Wisconsin matter, especially concerning alcohol consumption. Wisconsin holds the dubious honor of being the top state in the nation for alcohol overconsumption, with approximately one in four adults engaging in binge drinking on a regular basis. 
Although Oshkosh and Winnebago are not the hardest-hit areas in Wisconsin when it comes to substance abuse, the figures indicate that local addiction problems are worse than they are in many other parts of the state. In 2021, Wisconsin reported a statewide average of 55 alcohol-related deaths per 100,000 residents, while Winnebago County reported a slightly higher rate of 56.1. This placed Winnebago as the 29th worst county out of 72 counties for this particular statistic.
While fatalities often offer a clear picture of the extent of substance abuse in a region, additional factors must be taken into account. In 2021, Winnebago County recorded 1,632 hospital admissions (emergency room and inpatient visits) resulting from alcohol consumption, ranking it as the 9th most impacted county in the state for alcohol-related hospitalizations. This demonstrates that, although Winnebago County has been efficient in managing alcohol overdoses and mitigating excess fatalities, it has yet to effectively address the root of the addiction crisis in the region. 
The data pertaining to opioid abuse presents a slightly more positive outlook for Oshkosh and the rest of Winnebago County. Between 2007 and 2021, the county reported an average of 40.3 opioid hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, compared to the statewide average of 53.7. The county also reported 18.2 opioid fatalities per 100,000 residents, compared to the statewide average of 24.6. 
Naturally, to better understand exactly how substance abuse impacts Oshkosh, we must look at the statistics coming out of the city itself. So, here are some of the most recent findings related to overdoses and deaths in Oshkosh, Wisconsin:
- Annual Overdoses: 112
- Alcohol-Related Deaths: 53
- Opioid-Related Deaths: 17
- Non-Opioid Drug-Related Deaths: 3
Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Efforts in Oshkosh
Unfortunately, when you first start looking for addiction help in Oshkosh, you’ll find that the city offers very few resources to help those in need. In fact, it treats the local correctional facility as the main resource center, indicating that punitive measures against drug offenders are the city’s first line of defense against addiction. However, if you look at other programs offered at the county level, the results are far more promising. Winnebago County offers various programs aimed at harm reduction, particularly where opioids are concerned.
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. Many Oshkosh residents seek out help from quality inpatient rehab clinics like Wellbrook Recovery, as well as nearby detox clinics like Midwest Detox.
Drug and Alcohol Detox in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Oshkosh really is a beautiful city with a lot of potential. While external factors have ravaged the city’s economy, it is in the process of recovery. However, the growing addiction crisis has only stalled many of the efforts to revitalize Oshkosh. It can be easy to see the situation as being hopeless, but the reality is that there are many resources to help those most in need. The first step on the path to addiction recovery is often detox, as this is the best way to cleanse the body of toxic substances and jumpstart the recovery process.
At Midwest Detox, you or a loved one can check into a comfortable and discreet detox treatment center for your addiction. This is the safest and most effective way to begin the recovery process without fear of severe withdrawal symptoms. Our trained staff will work around the clock to ensure you are comfortable and safe while your body and mind recover from substance abuse. As you prepare to leave our facility, we will also help devise a plan for your long-term recovery.
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.