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Group to hold its first meeting on October 28 in Green Bay

Madison – In response to Wisconsin’s opioid overdose epidemic, Governor Scott Walker today announced the members of the Task Force on Opioid Abuse that was created under Executive Order #214.

“I appreciate the commitment task force members are making to help Wisconsin end this public health crisis, which is claiming lives and hurting families in our state,” Governor Walker said. “Each member of the task force brings a unique perspective and will work together to help Wisconsin solve this serious issue.”

The Task Force members include:

  • Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Co-Chair
  • Representative John Nygren, Co-Chair
  • Attorney General Brad Schimel
  • Secretary Jon Litscher, Department of Corrections
  • Secretary Dave Ross, Department of Safety and Professional Services
  • Deputy Secretary Tom Engels, Department of Health Services
  • Deputy Commissioner J.P. Wieske, Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
  • Senator Leah Vukmir
  • Senator Janet Bewley
  • Representative Jill Billings
  • Sheriff Reg Gill, Lafayette County Sheriff's Department
  • Judge William Domina, Waukesha County Circuit Court
  • John Weitekamp, R.P.H., Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin
  • Joan Coffman, Wisconsin Hospital Association
  • Dr. Nameeta Dookeran, Wisconsin Medical Society
  • Dr. Tim Westlake, Wisconsin State Coalition for Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction
  • Joan Mack, R.N., Director, C.A.R.E
  • Jesse Heffernan, Helios Addiction Recovery Services
  • Heather VanZile, Forest County Potawatomi
  • Jen Rombalski, La Crosse County Health Department

In 2014, more Wisconsin residents died from drug overdoses than from motor vehicle crashes, and the number of drug overdose deaths in the state doubled from 2004 to 2014. Prescription opioid pain relievers contributed to 47 percent of the 843 drug overdose deaths in 2014, while heroin contributed to 32 percent.

“While we’ve made great strides to combat opioid abuse in Wisconsin, this task force is a unified effort to help end opioid abuse and overdoses in our state,” Governor Walker said. 

The Task Force will hold its first meeting on Friday, October 28 from 1:00PM - 4:00PM at the Aurora BayCare Sports Medicine Center in Green Bay.