Viewing the Opioid Epidemic in Rural America Through the Lens of Prevention
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In spring 2015, the HIV outbreak caused by injection drug use in rural Scott County, Indiana, made headlines around the world. More than 200 cases were confirmed in the town of Austin, affecting one-fifth of its population of 4,200. This rural county faced multiple challenges in addressing the outbreak: poverty, high unemployment, and limited access to medical care, compounded by a devastating shortage of substance use disorder treatment and recovery services.
Today, nearly all the people who contracted HIV during the 2015 outbreak are virally suppressed. In just four years, the number of people in recovery has increased by 1000%, new Hepatitis C cases are declining, and new HIV cases have plummeted by over 97% to just 5 in 2018.
In this 1.5 hour webinar, Dr. Ryan Westergaard of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health shares insights on some of the upstream life events, traumas, and challenges that may contribute to opioid misuse for people living in rural communities. Dr. Will Cooke of Scott County will provide an overview of the community-based approach that is helping to reclaim the lives of people with opioid use disorder and transform Scott County.