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IMPACT to raise awareness, garner support at Higher Ground… The Opiate Epidemic


Milwaukee, WI – Southeastern Wisconsin has not been spared by the heroin and opiate epidemic and, for many in our community, IMPACT is the first step toward regaining stability in their lives.  Higher Ground… The Opiate Epidemic is set for September 13th from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Wisconsin Club to raise awareness of our role in helping people whose lives are ravaged by addiction. Community leaders, advocates, families of victims, and survivors in recovery will come together in support of IMPACT’s free and confidential services.

According to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner, there were 148 heroin-related deaths in Milwaukee County last year, more than triple the number of deaths that occurred in 2011. An additional 97 fentanyl-related deaths represent a 223% increase over 2015.

“IMPACT has been in the trenches for nearly 60 years so we have seen drug epidemics ebb and flow. LSD, Cocaine, Crack, Inhalants, Meth, you name it,” John Hyatt, IMPACT President & CEO, explained. “What’s different about the opiate epidemic is the lethality of the product on the streets. One dose can kill you because there’s no way of knowing exactly what you’re taking or how potent it is.”

When someone experiencing a personal crisis dials 2-1-1 from anywhere in Southeastern Wisconsin, IMPACT’s alcohol and drug abuse professionals are available to help identify if a substance abuse problem exists; assess the severity; assemble a plan of action; and connect clients with resources. In 2016, 60 percent of callers seeking assistance for a substance abuse issue identified as an opiate user.

“It can be difficult to determine when help is necessary, where to go for appropriate assistance, for which services someone qualifies, and how to make the right connections. Because IMPACT does not provide treatment services, and is not affiliated with any health care provider, all determinations are based solely on the needs of the individual,” added Hyatt. “Our only objective is to save lives.”

Higher Ground… The Opiate Epidemic  will feature New York Times best-selling author Jacquelyn Mitchard who has written 12 novels including “The Deep End of the Ocean” which was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club, and was made into a major feature film. Mitchard’s advocacy efforts include raising awareness of the opiate epidemic.

Linda Lenz, whose son’s death from a heroin overdose sparked national attention, will also share her story of heartbreak and determination. Earlier this summer, a social media post went viral in which

Lenz described how she implored teens on a Summerfest shuttle not to take the pills that they were strategizing how to smuggle into the festival.

The event is sponsored by Aurora Health Care, the Aurora Health Care Better Together Fund,

US Bank, R&R Insurance, United Healthcare and Adient plc. Proceeds from a book signing with

Jacquelyn Mitchard at the conclusion of the event will benefit IMPACT’s free substance abuse consultation, assessment and referral services.