North Central Wisconsin leaders speak on stopping opioid crisis - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

North Central Wisconsin leaders speak on stopping opioid crisis

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MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) -

Leaders in Marathon County discussed what can be done about the opioid crisis Wednesday, a few weeks after President Donald Trump declared the overdose epidemic a national emergency.

A recovery summit was held in Marathon County.

"This year's theme is moving communities supportive of recovery because we know there are a lot of things out there we can do to support recovery," said Melissa Moore of the Marathon County Health Department.

Speakers focused on ways to help yourself or someone you love.

"I think that there's a lot of families and a lot of individuals in the community that are struggling in silence with their addiction," said Moore. "It's important that the whole community is involved and part of the discussion." 

Topics included safe and sober housing, positive social support, and best practice programs. 

Simultaneously over at the Wausau YMCA, DR. Linda Bluestein talked about ways to deal with pain without using drugs. 

"We all know that opioids are a huge problem right now and there are a lot of other things that people can do besides take opioids to make themselves feel better for pain. In fact, opioids actually are very harmful in some cases for chronic pain, they can actually make the pain worse," said Bluestein. "There are a number of different strategies that people can use." 

She suggested keeping expectations realistic, because a lot of chronic pain won't be cured, but can be mentally managed. 

"It's important to look for incremental changes. Over time, people sometimes don't notice that they're getting better," said Bluestein. "A lot of people focus on the pain number and it's much more important to focus on function." 

So she said if you try paying more attention to getting your life back than the pain you are feeling, you may be able to make a breakthrough in your personal happiness.

Speakers said we can all educate ourselves on ways to feel better-- and the YMCA frequently has classes on self-improvement. 

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