MADISON, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- The brother of Madison’s late legendary funnyman Chris Farley says he wishes telemedicine and other virtual mental health services were available before his sibling’s untimely death at 33-years old. Chris Farley died of a drug overdose.  

‘That’s a great thought, I think that it would have gone very far in his (Chris') road to recovery, that’s for sure,’  Tom Farley says.

Since the tragedy more than two decades ago, Farley has devoted his life to advocacy.  

He says the pandemic has made addiction and treatment tough topics because loved ones facing these issues often resort to secrecy as well as other hidden behaviors.

“Addiction in and of itself is a disease of isolation, so now when you put these people in real isolation, it makes it that much more difficult for these people to be in a good recovery programs,’ Farley says.

And difficult treatment cases are happening all across Wisconsin.  The Appleton area saw drug overdose deaths hit 11 over the last few months, compared to 9 in total in 2019. In Dane County, ambulance calls jumped 38% for substance abuse emergencies— since the pandemic began.

Farley is now helping the Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation with its new Recovery Go Program.  He believes on-demand resources for mental health and digital anonymity can go along way for treatment.

‘Never been easier to find a treatment, thanks to this great technology, now that we are able to connect," he says.

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