Issue 10-2 | January 25, 2021
Spotlight On: Covid-19 Leading Adults to Drink More
A new study published in Preventive Medicine shows the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on alcohol use. The nationwide survey of social media users conducted in March and April 2020 indicates that 29% percent of respondents reported drinking more during the pandemic. People with depression were 64% more likely to increase their alcohol intake, while those with anxiety were 41% more likely to do so. Respondents ages 18-39 years were most likely to say they are drinking more regardless of their mental health, but individuals 40 and up were more likely to say they are drinking more if they have symptoms of anxiety and depression. Overall, women were more likely than men to report increased alcohol consumption due to Covid. The authors say these results are consistent with alcohol use patterns after other traumatic events, such as 9/11. Read the full article here.
The Opioid Epidemic Cost $1.02 Trillion in US in 2017
As prevention specialists, we are well aware of the benefits of addressing substance use issues before they emerge so that they don’t become crises. There is a human cost as well as an economic burden on the individual, their families, and society. A new study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence provides the most up-to-date view of the economic burden of the opioid crisis on the US in 2017—a shocking $1.02 trillion. The authors looked at the impact of opioid use disorder and fatal overdose from all opioids, both prescription and illicit, on health care, criminal justice, lost productivity, and loss of life and quality of life. “The majority of the economic burden is due to reduced quality of life from opioid use disorder and the value of life lost due to fatal opioid overdose,” concluded Curtis Florence, Feijun Luo, and Ketra Rice. They found that the value of life lost to overdose deaths was $480.7 billion and opioid use disorder cost the nation $471 billion. They note that this estimated economic burden is a snapshot of one year, and suggest studying the economic impact of opioid use disorder across an individual’s entire life. In addition, they stress the importance of prevention. “Based on the results presented here, substantial economic benefits could be realized by reducing the rate of fatal overdoses and preventing opioid use disorder,” they wrote. You can read the report here.
Words Matter
“We should always put the person first. Always,” writes Guida Brown, Executive Director of Hope Council on Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse on the Save Lives Kenosha website. “Language that labels people takes away their humanness. Therefore, there are no ‘junkies,’ ‘druggies,’ ‘alcoholics,’ ‘addicts,’ or the like. There are only people with substance use disorders or people with addictions.” Learn more about language, stigma, and good alternatives by checking out this fact sheet.
Webinars & Events
Spring Primary Election Lunch & Learn
Tuesday, January 26 & Wednesday, January 27  
Join the nonpartisan Wisconsin Disability Coalition to get prepared for the February 16 primary election. The coalition is offering two short trainings on Zoom on January 26 at 12 noon and January 27 at 11 a.m. Learn why this is an important election, important deadlines, voter registration, voting absentee and more. Register today at this link. Want to distribute election information postcards? Get details here.
Caregiver Fatigue
Wednesday, January 27
This Great Lakes MHTTC and People Incorporated Mental Health Services Training Institute webinar explores the chronic and cumulative effect of different stresses at work and how it negatively impacts one’s ability to be effective. This is especially important in the context of working in helping professions, because the erosion of compassion and empathy affects a worker’s effectiveness in healing. This class explores this field, the nature of compassion satisfaction, and offers strategies for cultivating resilience and compassion satisfaction that are both self-care and team-care oriented. This session will be held from 8:45 to 11 a.m. on January 27. Register here.
Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma during a Pandemic
Wednesday, January 27
The Great Lakes MHTTC is offering this training, which will define compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma, discuss the brain response to stress and trauma, and review statistics regarding these issues. It will be held virtually on January 27, from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. Register here.
Building Resiliency
Wednesday, January 27
This Great Lakes MHTTC and People Incorporated Mental Health Services Training Institute session will explore the problem of chronic unremitting stress on our overactive and distracted brains and offers a set of different skill sets for robust mental health that can be learned and practiced by anyone. It will be held from 12:45 to 3 p.m. on January 27. Register at this link.
Community Café: Supported Decision-Making and Guardianship
Wednesday, January 27
The Milwaukee County Disabilities Services Division - Children’s Unit invites you to the Community Café: Supported Decision-Making and Guardianship. Hosted on the Microsoft Teams platform, this free and informative presentation will be held on January 27 from 12:30-2 p.m. and 6-7:30 p.m. To register, email and indicate your time and language preference.
Leading Resilient Teams
Thursday, January 28
More and more workers are being exposed to the distress and suffering of others as part of their work. Compassion fatigue is a natural and inevitable response to the toxic stress caused by this exposure, and left unchecked leads to exhaustion and burnout. An important role of a leader is to promote the health and wellbeing of their teams by deliberately emphasizing team care, resilience, and compassion satisfaction in the workplace. This class, organized by the Great Lakes MHTTC, will be held on January 28, from 8:45 to 11 a.m. Register here.
Together for Children Conference
April 15, 20, 21 & 22
The 2021 virtual Together for Children Conference, the Grey and Mary Ann Renz Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect, will take place on April 15, 20, 21 and 22, with three keynote presentations, including "Let's Talk about Race and Corporal Punishment" by Stacey Patton, PhD, and "Navigating Overwhelm" by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky. Twenty breakout sessions will also be offered. Registration fee is $75 for the entire conference. Get details and register here.
Executive Order Safe Policing for Safe Communities: Addressing Mental Health, Homelessness, and Addiction Report
This new report from SAMHSA addresses the justice system as a safety net, behavioral health crisis care, and more. Download it here.
Preliminary DAWN Data Review
The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) captures data on emergency department visits related to substance use and misuse, such as alcohol use, illicit drug use, suicide attempts, and nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals. This sample is from April 2019-October 2020. Download the preliminary reports at this link.
Workshop Proposals Sought for the 2021 Mental Health and Substance Use Recovery Training Conference
The 2021 Mental Health and Substance Use Recovery Training Conference will be held virtually on October 27-29. UW-Stevens Point and the conference planning committee are accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops. Proposals that demonstrate evidence-based practices, promote strength-based approaches, include the voice of lived experience, address diverse populations, enhance skills, support recovery, and energize participants are encouraged. Proposals are due Friday, February 26. Click here for details.
Staying Hopeful during Covid-19
From Mental Health First Aid USA, insights on how to stay hopeful and resilient during these turbulent times, with a few quotes from Time magazine’s most influential people. Read the blog here.
Participants Needed for Study on Prior Pregnancy
UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health is seeking adult women who had used substances during a prior pregnancy but are not currently pregnant or using substances. Participants must be able to attend two 30-minute interviews and will be compensated $50 for each session. If you’re interested, call 608-225-1640 or email
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Community Advocates is supported by ReCAST MKE, a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services, under Grant No. 5H79SM063524.