Opioid crisis affects ThedaCare-Berlin emergency room

Number of patients coming in for help doubled in past two years

The nation’s growing opioid abuse epidemic, which has been declared a national health emergency by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, is being felt locally.

The number of patients with opioid-related issues coming into the emergency department at ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin has doubled during the past two years, said Emergency Room Supervisor Kelly Schmude. There were three overdose deaths in Green Lake County during that two-year timeframe. In addition, pregnant women addicted to opioids are transferred to a larger hospital to avoid birth complications since those babies are born addicted.

“My biggest sadness is the age of the patients that we see,” Schmude said. “Why do they choose to do drugs and basically ruin their lives and many of them end up having children? It is just a vicious cycle.”

The Green Lake County Wellness Coalition is hosting a community awareness event focused on the heroin and opioid crisis at 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, at Berlin High School.

In 2016, the ThedaCare Medical Center-Berlin Emergency Department had a total of 37 overdose related cases – 19 for heroin and 18 for other opioids. A year later, there were 60 cases – 14 for heroin and 46 for other opioids.

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