Drug and Alcohol Detox Guide For Wausau, Wisconsin

Wausau, Wisconsin is surrounded by the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin and divided down the middle by the Wisconsin River, making it a hidden gem for nature lovers in the state. As the county seat of Marathon County, Wausau functions as one of the primary hubs of activity, commerce, and culture in central Wisconsin. In short, Wausau is a great place to live and work, with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the world around you.

Unfortunately, with a poverty rate of 12.5%, Wausau is among the cities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent economic downturn. [1] Though unemployment is relatively low, many residents are struggling with the ever-increasing cost of living. All of this economic stress has only exacerbated a substance abuse epidemic that has been on the rise in the region for more than a decade.

So, despite its sleepy, tranquil appearance and ideal location, Wausau suffers from issues that are difficult to ignore. And in spite of local and state efforts, addiction continues to tear families apart and cause unnecessary deaths each and every year. It is an issue that doesn’t have a simple solution, and the data coming out of Wausau only makes the situation look even more troubling.

But if you or someone you love is struggling with addiction in Wausau, Wisconsin, you shouldn’t let yourself be discouraged by the crisis. 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. Continue reading to learn more about the current substance abuse crisis in Wausau, and the resources available to help residents fight addiction.

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    The Ongoing Substance Abuse Crisis in Wausau

    Wausau is quite small for a major economic center, with just over 39,000 full-time residents. However, it’s important to consider that Wausau is the lifeblood of the Wausau Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which has a much larger population of 134,000 and encompasses all of Marathon County. Since substance abuse data is collected at the county level, this makes it easier to understand the relationship between substance abuse in Wausau and its many suburbs.

    According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wausau and Marathon County have seen a steady rise in alcohol-attributable emergency room visits, inpatient hospitalizations, and deaths. Between 2014 and 2021, alcohol emergency room visits rose by 7.9%, alcohol inpatient hospitalizations rose by 16%, and deaths caused by alcohol rose by a staggering 48.8%. This seems to suggest that the instances of severe alcohol abuse are increasing rapidly, though many people are either unwilling or unable to access immediate medical care for their conditions. [2] You can see a full breakdown of these statistics in the table below:

    Alcohol Statistics in Wausau
    Year Emergency Room Inpatient Hospitalization Death
    2014 717 634 45
    2015 771 746 56
    2016 798 647 46
    2017 688 614 49
    2018 649 627 37
    2019 935 667 52
    2020 746 663 60
    2021 774 736 67

    Most cities in Wisconsin (and the country) experienced a substantial spike in substance abuse cases in 2020 and 2021, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Public and private health concerns and economic anxiety both contributed to greater numbers of people coping with the situation through drugs and alcohol. However, based on the available data, Wausau appears to be an exception. While hospitalizations and deaths certainly increased during the pandemic, some of the largest spikes in these figures occurred in 2015 and 2019 in Wausau. [3]

    Wausau experiences a lot of issues related to alcoholism, but alcohol is certainly not the only substance being abused. Opioid addiction is on the rise in Wausau, albeit at a slower rate than in many other metropolitan areas throughout the country. Between 2014 and 2021, opioid-attributable emergency visits rose by 16%, while opioid inpatient hospitalizations actually decreased by 8.6%. In 2014, there were no deaths caused by opioids on record in Marathon County, but between 2015 and 2021, the number of annual opioid deaths rose by 114%. And though data for 2022 and 2023 is not yet available, the current trends indicate that opioid hospitalizations and deaths have only continued to go up in recent months and years. [4] [5] You can see the annual figures for opioid abuse in Wausau and Marathon County in the table below:

    Opioid Statistics in Wausau
    Year Emergency Room Inpatient Hospitalization Death
    2014 25 23 0
    2015 18 27 7
    2016 28 32 11
    2017 25 27 13
    2018 15 12 6
    2019 23 19 10
    2020 27 21 10
    2021 29 21 15

    Aside from alcohol and opioids, various illicit drugs also cause multiple deaths in Wausau every year. Meth, in particular, is one of the most dangerous stimulants in the region. [6]

    How Wausau Compares to the Rest of Wisconsin

    When compared to all of Wisconsin, Wausau has a larger problem with alcohol abuse than most other cities. In 2021, Marathon County recorded 774 alcohol-related emergency room visits and 736 alcohol-related inpatient hospitalizations, making it the 11th and 14th worst county in Wisconsin for these statistics. The same year, Wisconsin recorded 55 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2021, compared to 49 in Wasau. This may indicate that, while Wausau and Marathon County have extremely high rates of alcohol-related hospitalizations, these municipalities have worked to keep alcohol deaths comparatively low.

    Despite this silver lining, the alcohol abuse problem in Wausau cannot be overlooked. It is among the worst cities in Wisconsin for alcohol abuse, which is particularly concerning when looking at the degree of alcohol consumption across the state. Wisconsin is the worst state in the nation for over-indulgence, with 1 and 4 adults engaging in binge drinking on a regular basis. [7]

    Fortunately, Wausau has done a relatively good job of keeping its localized opioid crisis under control. In 2021, Wisconsin recorded an average of 53.7 opioid emergency room visits per 100,000 residents, compared to just 21.3 in Wausau. Similarly, Wisconsin recorded 19.2 opioid inpatient hospitalizations per 100,000 residents, compared to 15.4 in Wausau. Though both of these comparisons are promising for Wausau, it is most telling that Marathon County sees less than half of the average opioid deaths than the rest of the state.

    We know that analyzing this data may not yield the kind of clear picture that you want to find, but it is nonetheless important to understand exactly how substance abuse affects those around you. So, let’s look at some of the most recent findings related to overdoses and deaths in Wausau, Wisconsin:

    • Annual Overdoses: 641
    • Alcohol-Related Deaths: 73
    • Opioid-Related Deaths: 13
    • Non-Opioid Drug-Related Deaths: 5

    Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Efforts in Wausau

    It would seem that Wausau does an excellent job of preventing substance abuse deaths, and it does to a certain degree, but the truth is that Wausau does not have any city-level treatment or preventative programs related to addiction. Instead, like most cities in Wisconsin, Wausau relies on county and state-level resources for assistance. Marathon County helps through its Alcohol & Other Drug (AOD) partnership, which works to spread awareness of the toll substance abuse takes on the larger community.

    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. Wausau 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 Wausau, Wisconsin

    Wausau is a beautiful place to live with many great qualities, which makes it that much more painful that the city continues to grapple with substance abuse. Dozens of deaths occur in Wausau and Marathon County every year, and while the deaths may be lower in Wausau than in many other areas, the city still sees more deaths each and every year. As a result, many families throughout the larger Wausau Metropolitan Statistical Area are forced to grieve for their lost loved ones.

    But just because the situation is dire does not mean that it is hopeless. Both the county and state are working to make treatment resources more accessible, while education efforts help stop substance abuse in teens and young adults before it starts. Additionally, quality clinics like Midwest Detox are just a phone call away.

    When you reach out to us at Midwest Detox, we immediately work with you to understand your medical history, substance abuse issues, and long-term recovery goals. This helps us understand your needs and allows us to develop an effective recovery plan that fits your circumstances. Once you’re here, you will benefit from modern facilities and experienced staff who can help get you through the hardest stages of your detoxification in comfort. By the time you leave our facility, you’ll have the skills and knowledge you need to continue on 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.