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Oconomowoc – Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 365 and Assembly Bill 660 into law today at ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital as a part of his Heroin Opioid Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) tour.  During the H.O.P.E. tour, Governor Walker discussed the impact this legislation will have on people who struggle with opioid abuse and addiction in Wisconsin.

“To improve and maintain the health of communities throughout our state, it’s crucial we find new ways to combat a growing trend of drug abuse in our state, particularly of opioids and prescription drugs,” Governor Walker said.  “The bills we’re signing into law here today help us do that by establishing best practices for prescribing controlled substances as well  ensure proper communication between law enforcement officers, nurses, substance abuse counselors, practitioners, and pharmacists.”

Assembly Bill 365 – requires law enforcement agents to report to their agency the name and birth date of any individual suspected of prescription drug violation, theft, overdose, or death.  Law enforcement agents are required to report from whom the prescription was stolen, the prescribing practitioner, the prescription number, and the name of the prescription drug.  The bill also requires law enforcement to provide that information to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.  Authored by Representative John Nygren (R – Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R – River Falls), the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote.  It is Act 268.

Assembly Bill 660 – allows the Medical Examining Board, the Podiatry Affiliated Credentialing Board, the Board of Nursing, the Dentistry Examining Board, and the Optometry Examining Board to issue guidelines regarding best practices in prescribing controlled substances for persons credentialed by the board who are authorized to prescribe controlled substances.  Authored by Representative John Nygren (R – Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R – River Falls), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 98-0 and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote.  It is Act 269.

In 2013, more Wisconsinites died as a result of drug overdose than from motor vehicle crashes, suicide, breast cancer, colon cancer, firearms, influenza, or HIV, according to a report released in September of 2015 by the Department of Health Services (DHS).  Drug overdose deaths in Wisconsin doubled from 2004 to 2013 and opioid pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone, contributed to 45 percent of the 843 drug overdose deaths in 2013, while heroin contributed to about 27 percent.  Governor Walker continues to work with DHS and the legislature to bolster Wisconsin’s drug abuse prevention and treatment efforts, and the bills signed into law today as a part of Governor Walker’s H.O.P.E. tour are an important step to ensure Wisconsinites who face drug addiction receive the help and support they need.

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