Addictive impact

Lakeside Recovery addiction program is slated to double in a matter of weeks, as the waiting list is already shrinking.


Lakeside Recovery Manager Daniel Shine and recovery coach Clint Ruesch at the program’s new space ribbon cutting last week.

Chamber of Commerce ribbon cuttings are ceremonial affairs that typically attract a handful of people to join the red-coated chamber ambassadors welcoming a new or expanding business.

The ribbon cutting ceremony last week for the newly unveiled Lakeside Recovery program at North Central Health Care felt starkly different and more emotional, as dozens of people celebrated the expansion of a program aimed at battling the local opioid crisis.

The program itself has graduated more than 350 people since launching in 2015. The in-patient, 21-day treatment program was so popular that at its peak it had a more than 150-person waiting list. Today that number has dropped to around 75, says manager Daniel Shine. The program has been getting more patients through and NCHC has found ways to treat more people on an out-patient basis.

Still, there’s a big need, and the new Lakeside Recovery program will expand from six in-patient beds to 15, allowing for nearly three times the capacity. Staff will double as a result, Shine says.

The program has seen success because patients first detox before spending an intensive three weeks learning coping skills to deal with addiction and life beyond it. Past residents come back to the program to help inspire those currently enrolled. This year Lakeside Recovery added an art program through a program called Rise Up, with the help of local artists such as David Hummer and Stephanie Kohli.

The new Lakeside Recovery facility will be located in the adult day treatment area, on the parking lot side of the building. The move is part of a master plan NCHC has to renovate and rearrange its facilities. Included in that plan is a $67 million renovation of its campus, including renovations to Mount View Care Center. The renovation is designed to improve efficiency, such as centrally locating dining services.

The Lakeside Recovery expansion comes on the heels of good news: Opioid prescriptions are decreasing statewide. According to a recent report from the American Medical Association, the number of opioid painkiller prescriptions has been steadily decreasing from 251.8 million in 2013 to 196 million in 2017. The addiction and later abuse of opioids, which can lead users to abuse other drugs such as heroin, is the center of a statewide lawsuit Marathon County joined in 2017.