MARSHFIELD — The Marathon County AOD Partnership has been selected as one of 10 recipients of the Security Health Plan 2017 prescription drug abuse prevention grants, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

Funding may be used to develop new projects or programs, or to improve existing programs that will help prevent the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs.

The Marathon County AOD Partnership’s initiative will collect data on:

  • Medication misuse in the area
  • The perception of availability through households or healthcare providers
  • The perception of risk associated with misuse
  • Local medication diversion and disposal efforts

The data will be used to identify trends for outreach and awareness activities.

“Few people ever intend to struggle with an opioid use disorder, but as many as 1 in 4 people who receive prescription opioids for long-term pain eventually do. We want to intervene,” said Sue Wilhelm, director of Security Health Plan Pharmacy Services.

“Our Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Grants are one way we can help our local communities,” said Jay Shrader, Marshfield Clinic Health System Vice President of Community Health and Wellness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates opioid dependence costs the healthcare system $78.5 billion on an annual basis. Meanwhile, the state toll of opioid-related deaths rose to 622 in 2014, making opioid-related deaths a leading cause of injury deaths in Wisconsin.

The grants are part of a larger Marshfield Clinic Health System effort to fight the opioid epidemic and manage the rising cost of healthcare. Other synchronized efforts include changes to pharmacy management services and the installation of medication disposal kiosks.

“An epidemic this serious will take the collaboration and cooperation of everyone in the community. We’re happy to do our part,” said Shrader.