Drug and Alcohol Detox Guide For West Bend, Wisconsin
West Bend is a classic American town full of historical architecture and surrounded by beautiful forests. But as much as West Bend benefits from its remote surroundings, it’s still close enough to Milwaukee to enjoy the convenience of a bustling metropolitan city. As the county seat of Washington County, West Bend boasts a population of 31,727 (as of 2021) and is by far the largest city in the county. 
Compared to many smaller cities throughout Wisconsin, West Bend has been surprisingly resilient to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. As of the latest data, the city of West Bend has a poverty rate of just 7.4%, which is much lower than the nationwide rate of 12.8%. And while West Bend tends to have a lower cost of living than many small cities in the outer Milwaukee area, the median household income is $66,980, which is just shy of the statewide median of $67,080. 
It would be easy to look at the city of West Bend objectively and assume that substance abuse is not an issue for local residents, but that is simply not the case. Sadly, like many cities throughout Wisconsin and the rest of the nation, West Bend is far from immune to the ongoing substance abuse crisis. Fortunately, 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 West Bend, Wisconsin. Continue reading to learn more about the current substance abuse crisis in West Bend, and the resources available to help residents fight addiction.
The Ongoing Substance Abuse Crisis in West Bend
The city of West Bend has seen relatively slow growth, particularly in recent years. From 1990 to 2010, West Bend grew from a population of 24,615 to a population of 31,206. Since 2010, the population has only grown to about 31,727. However, Washington County has been growing at a much faster rate over the past three decades. Between 1990 and 2021, Washington County’s population grew from 95,328 residents to 137,135. This means that West Bend accounted for about 33.2% of the county population in 1990, but only accounts for 23.1% of the population today.
The growing disparity in city and county populations matters because local substance abuse data is collected at the county level. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly hard to parse the data and interpret how substance abuse cases in Washington County relate to the numbers actually coming out of the city of West Bend.
Nonetheless, it’s important to evaluate county-level data, as it is the only way to see all of the substance abuse cases in West Bend and the surrounding area. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Washington County has seen a substantial increase in inpatient hospitalizations related to alcohol abuse. And while the number of annual alcohol emergency room visits has nearly doubled since 2007, this figure peaked in 2015 and has since been in decline. Unfortunately, the number of annual deaths caused by alcohol increased by 26% between 2014 and 2022.   You can see a full breakdown of these statistics in the table below:
|Alcohol Statistics in Washington County|
|Year||Emergency Room Visits||Inpatient Hospitalizations||Deaths|
As you can see from the table, alcohol emergency room visits have steadily declined in Washington County, while inpatient hospitalizations involving alcohol have been on the rise. This is typically an indication that more people are actively choosing substance abuse treatment, rather than succumbing to unexpected overdoses and being rushed to the emergency room. However, alcohol-attributable deaths have increased in recent years, though this can partially be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a rise in substance abuse deaths in most counties throughout Wisconsin and the rest of the United States.
Preliminary data shows that there were 12 alcohol-attributable deaths in January and February of 2023. If the deaths continue at the same pace throughout the remainder of the year, 2023 will see the highest number of deaths on record in Washington County. However, since the COVID-19 pandemic is largely in the rearview mirror, there could be a substantial dropoff in alcohol deaths. We can’t know for sure until more data becomes available.
Opioids are the second most common killer among addictive substances in Washington County. While they cause far fewer deaths than alcohol, the number of fatal overdoses involving opioids is increasing at a much faster rate. The figures also show opposite trends related to treatment. The number of opioid-related emergency room visits has been on the rise, while opioid inpatient hospitalizations have declined. Tragically, the number of annual deaths caused by opioids doubled between 2014 and 2021.   You can see the annual figures for opioid abuse in Washington County in the table below:
|Opioid Statistics in Washington County|
|Year||Emergency Room Visits||Inpatient Hospitalizations||Deaths|
Washington County may not have been hit as hard by the opioid crisis as many other counties, but the rising rates of emergency room visits and fatal overdoses are troubling to say the least. Some of these figures can once again be attributed to the anxiety and increased drug abuse seen during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but preliminary data indicates that these numbers will continue to rise in 2023 and beyond.
Fortunately, Washington County does not have as many issues with drugs other than alcohol and opioids. That said, the county does still see single-digit deaths each year from other drugs, particularly cocaine. Additionally, heroin (a type of opioid) is still abused widely in many different parts of the county. 
Since West Bend accounts for 23.1% of Washington County (and will likely account for a smaller portion in the future), it’s important to distinguish substance abuse cases that originated in West Bend from those that did not. Though some drugs, like heroin and meth, are more common in rural areas of Washington County, the majority of alcohol and opioid overdoses originate in West Bend. In fact, it is estimated that 55% of Washington County’s substance abuse cases come from the city of West Bend.
How West Bend Compares to the Rest of Wisconsin
West Bend compares somewhat favorably to many other small cities throughout Wisconsin. That said, the trends related to opioids show rapid increases in deaths that could soon put the city on the wrong side of the state average. Considering that Wisconsin is also the worst state in the nation for binge drinking, West Bend has a very unhealthy relationship with alcohol, despite having fewer alcohol abuse cases than many of its neighbors. 
In 2021, Washington County recorded an average of 51.8 alcohol deaths per 100,000 residents, compared to 55 across all of Wisconsin. Similarly, the county recorded an average of 23.6 opioid deaths per 100,000 residents, compared to 24.6 statewide. But again, the number of opioid deaths is rising rapidly in Washington County, so it may surpass the state average in the very near future.
While this data shows that West Bend and the rest of Washington County appear to be managing substance abuse cases better than many other parts of Wisconsin, it’s important to see exactly how substance abuse is affecting local residents. 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 West Bend, Wisconsin:
- Annual Overdoses: 302
- Alcohol-Related Deaths: 33
- Opioid-Related Deaths: 18
- Non-Opioid Drug-Related Deaths: 2
Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery Efforts in West Bend
Though the city of West Bend does not offer any specific programs aimed at preventing or treating substance abuse, it does offer an online drug addiction resource guide. This guide includes useful information and links related to detox, the dangers of opioids, safe needle disposal, as well as groups and clinics for seeking out treatment. However, West Bend relies heavily on initiatives funded at the county and state levels. Currently, Washington County helps direct local residents toward resources and clinics that can provide them with assistance.
As a complement to these local programs, Wisconsin runs the State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (SCAODA), which manages dozens of programs and initiatives across the state. West Bend 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 West Bend, Wisconsin
West Bend is a great city in which to live and raise a family, with plenty of job opportunities and economic prosperity. It also combines the beauty of the Wisconsin wilderness with the convenience of being close to a major city like Milwaukee. Sadly, these advantages have not stopped substance abuse from taking a devastating toll on the city of West Bend.
Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to detox clinics like Midwest Detox, local residents can get the help they need from caring and compassionate substance abuse professionals. At Midwest Detox, we create a peaceful and comfortable environment in which to cleanse your body and begin your recovery. Not only do we help you get through withdrawal and monitor your progress every step of the way, but we also equip you with the skills 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.