Drug and Alcohol Detox Guide For Superior, Wisconsin
Superior is a beautiful little city that rests at the northern edge of Wisconsin, separated from Minnesota by the Saint Louis Bay. The bay feeds into Lake Superior, from which the city takes its name. Superior is perhaps best known for its enchanting natural beauty, which includes nature trails, beaches, creeks, and miniature waterfalls. It’s also just a few miles north of the Richard Bong Memorial Airport, making it easier for residents of the somewhat remote city to travel to more populated areas.
As of the latest data, the city of Superior, Wisconsin boasts a population of 26,459.  The population has remained relatively stable, with very little change over the past three decades. Superior serves as the county seat of Douglas County, and accounts for well over half of the county population. As a relatively small community, Superior and the rest of Douglas County have struggled to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the latest figures, roughly 13.9% of Superior residents live below the poverty line, compared to 10.7% in all of Wisconsin.
Economic difficulties over the past few years have only exacerbated the growing tide of substance abuse cases in the city of Superior and Douglas County. Superior has some of the highest rates of alcohol and opioid abuse rates in Wisconsin, though the issue has largely been ignored because the county has not provided sufficient data to confirm the number of overdoses and deaths. As a result, many people in Superior are struggling without knowing where to turn for help.
Fortunately, with clinics like Midwest Detox nearby, Superior residents can begin their recovery journey with the assistance of trained professionals. This way, they have a much better chance of getting sober and staying sober for good.
If you or a loved one live in Superior, Wisconsin and are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, you should consider seeking out professional help as soon as possible. It could mean the difference between life and death. That said, we understand that starting the recovery process is not always easy.
Continue reading to learn more about the current substance abuse crisis in Superior, and the resources available to help residents fight addiction.
The Ongoing Substance Abuse Crisis in Superior
Douglas County has a population of 44,144, compared to the population of 26,459 in the city of Superior. This distinction matters because all substance abuse data is collected at the county level. Superior simply doesn’t have the resources to collect and analyze the data on its own. Moreover, it’s common practice in Wisconsin for counties to manage substance abuse analysis on behalf of cities in their purview, particularly smaller cities like Superior.
Despite the fact that other cities in Douglas County also contribute to the ongoing substance abuse crisis, Superior is the largest contributor by far. As a result, the county-level data is very similar to the actual figures coming out of Superior. But once again, these figures are not always complete, which can make it harder to figure out exactly how severe the crisis has become in the more sparsely populated northern regions of Wisconsin.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the number of deaths caused by alcohol abuse continues to rise each year in Douglas County. In fact, this particular statistic rose by nearly 80% over the course of 8 years.   You can see a full breakdown of these statistics in the table below:
|Alcohol Statistics in Douglas County
|Emergency Room Visits
The table above shows that there was a sharp increase in emergency room visits and inpatient hospitalizations involving alcohol starting in 2016. Based on our research, there are no outside variables that account for such a drastic increase, so it could mean that Douglas County altered the way it recorded data starting in 2016. It’s possible that county officials widened the parameters for what could be considered an “emergency room visit” or “inpatient hospitalization” in which alcohol was the primary cause for treatment. However, we cannot be sure that this was the case.
Regardless of the situation in 2016, it’s evident from this data that alcohol abuse has increased in Douglas County over the past decade. Between 2016 and 2021, emergency room visits and inpatient hospitalizations, increased by 5% and 3.9%, respectively. Over the same period, alcohol-attributable deaths increased by 140%. But once again, the datasets for Douglas County are relatively small, so the spike in deaths is not quite as drastic as these percentages appear. Moreover, Douglas County saw its alcohol abuse cases peak during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is similar to what we have seen in most other counties throughout Wisconsin.
It’s also important to remember that data for 2022 and 2023 is still preliminary. As of April 2023, Douglas County has only recorded 3 alcohol deaths, which could mean that the peaks reached during the pandemic are now dropping back down to more manageable levels. However, it’s still too early to make any firm predictions.
After alcohol, opioids are the second most commonly abused substance in Superior and Douglas County. Unfortunately, data related to opioid deaths in Douglas County is sparse, but based on the information we do have, the opioid epidemic hit the region incredibly hard.   You can see the annual figures for opioid abuse in Douglas County in the table below:
|Opioid Statistics in Douglas County
|Emergency Room Visits
As you can see, the opioid data for Douglas County is insufficient. Opioid death records are only available for 2019 and 2021, and this is often the most useful statistic for evaluating the extent of the opioid crisis in a given city or county. However, we can use the opioid emergency room visits and inpatient hospitalizations to glean some information about the opioid epidemic in Douglas County.
Emergency room visits have generally been on the rise since 2014, though they peaked during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Alternatively, inpatient hospitalizations have declined drastically. This type of negative correlation often indicates that more people are suffering from sudden opioid overdoses that require immediate emergency care, while fewer people are seeking out inpatient treatment, detox, or rehab. This could be a sign that the opioid crisis is getting worse, even though relatively few people are dying (based on the limited data we have).
However, data compiled from multiple sources provides further evidence that Douglas County has a severe substance abuse problem, particularly involving alcohol, opioids, and crystal meth. An average of 7.1 people per 100,000 residents in the county die every year as a result of opioids, with an average of 2.6 of those deaths involving heroin. Meth contributes to an annual average of 5.4 deaths per 100,000 residents in the county, which is higher than most other counties in the state. 
It’s important to note that these statistics do not correspond exactly to the statistics for the city of Superior alone. However, as previously mentioned, Superior accounts for the vast majority of cases in the county. By some estimates, as much as 82% of substance abuse cases in Douglas County originate in Superior.
How Superior Compares to the Rest of Wisconsin
Douglas County has a very small population compared to areas like Milwaukee County or Dane County, but it still has a very high rate of substance abuse cases in comparison to its population. For example, Douglas County saw 804 total hospitalizations (emergency room and inpatient) as a result of alcohol in 2021. That equates to nearly 2% of the entire county population. That may not sound like much, but when you consider how many people struggle with drug and alcohol abuse and are not admitted to a hospital, it shows just how severe the problem has become. It’s also important to consider that alcohol abuse is highly prevalent in Wisconsin, with roughly 1 in 4 adults binge drinking regularly. 
And while Douglas County records far fewer total numbers of hospitalizations and deaths related to substance abuse, the rate by population is quite high, particularly for alcohol. As of 2021, Douglas is the 19th worst and 25th worst county in the state (out of 72 counties) for alcohol emergency room visits and inpatient hospitalizations, respectively. The outlook for alcohol-attributable deaths is even worse. The same year, Wisconsin recorded a statewide average of 55 alcohol deaths per 100,000 residents, compared to a rate of 82.5 in Douglas County. This made Douglas the 6th worst county in the state for this statistic.
Douglas County has only looked a little better when it comes to opioid deaths, but this is partly because the county’s data is incomplete. In 2021, Douglas County recorded an average of 15.9 opioid deaths per 100,000 residents, compared to 24.6 in Wisconsin. However, Douglas County recorded an astounding rate of opioid overdoses that year: 79.7 per 100,000 residents, compared to 54.5 statewide.
Once again, these figures do not correlate precisely with the city of Superior, but they do provide a pretty accurate picture of the current situation involving substance abuse in northern Wisconsin. To get a more accurate picture of the direct impact of substance abuse at the city level, let’s look at some of the most recent findings related to overdoses and deaths in Superior, Wisconsin:
- Annual Overdoses: 211
- Alcohol-Related Deaths: 16
- Opioid-Related Deaths: 6
- Non-Opioid Drug-Related Deaths: 2
Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Efforts in Superior
The city of Superior does not offer any programs to help prevent or treat addiction. Instead, it relies on county and state-level programs for assistance. Unfortunately, Douglas County’s initiatives are primarily tied to its drug court, which focuses on punishing those who have been caught with illicit substances. However, the county does work with local providers to offer assessments and referrals for those currently struggling with a substance use disorder.
As a complement to local programs, Wisconsin runs the State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (SCAODA), which manages dozens of programs and initiatives across the state. Superior 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 Superior, Wisconsin
Superior is a picturesque city along the northern shores of Wisconsin, combining the small-town charm of a coastal community with many of the conveniences of a larger city. Sadly, the specter of substance abuse and addiction has taken a deadly toll on the city and the rest of the county. With few local resources to help them, many residents feel as though they have nowhere to turn.
Fortunately, there is help close by. Midwest Detox is a private detox clinic in southern Wisconsin that helps treat people all across the state. At Midwest Detox, we offer modern facilities and knowledgeable staff who can help you cleanse your body of addictive substances and get you in the mindset to recover. We also teach you the skills you’ll need to continue your recovery in rehab and beyond.
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.