DE PERE – Governor Scott Walker signed four special session bills into law today that are part of the Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) agenda passed by the Wisconsin legislature during a special session. The four bills relate to medical measures to prevent and treat opioid addiction.
“Like many states in our great nation, Wisconsin is experiencing a dangerous trend – a growing number of cases of opioid abuse and overdose,” Governor Walker said. “We’ve taken serious steps to combat this issue, including creating the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse, but we won’t stop until there are zero opioid overdoses in Wisconsin. The bills we’re signing here today at Medical College of Wisconsin help us work towards that goal by requiring prescriptions for certain controlled substances, creating special fellowship programs, adding additional treatment centers, and establishing an addiction medicine consultation program for doctors."
Special Session Assembly Bill 4 – requires a prescription for certain Schedule V controlled substances. Under the bill, all Schedule V substances categorized as narcotic drugs containing nonnarcotic active medicinal ingredients require a prescription. In addition to Schedule V controlled substances containing the opioid codeine, this includes Schedule V controlled substances that contain dihydrocodeine, ethylmorphine, diphenoxylate, opium, and difenoxin. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon), the bill passed the Assembly on a voice vote and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 32-0. It is Act 25.
Special Session Assembly Bill 7 – allows hospitals to receive grants for addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry specialist residents if they are practicing family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, or internal medicine and are enrolled in an existing accredited graduate medical training program. Under the bill, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) could award grants to hospitals seeking to develop a new addiction medicine specialty fellowship program. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 26.
Special Session Assembly Bill 8 – requires DHS to add two or three more opiate and methamphetamine addiction treatment centers in rural, underserved, or high-need areas. This bill builds upon 2013 Wisconsin Act 195, which required DHS to create two or three regional comprehensive opioid treatment programs in rural, underserved, and high-need areas of the state. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 27.
Special Session Assembly Bill 9 – requires DHS to establish an addiction medicine consultation program for physicians. DHS would be responsible for requesting and reviewing proposals from organizations to establish the consultation program and would fund a provider or providers that meet the required criteria. Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 97-0 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 33-0. It is Act 28.
Governor Walker is signing a total of 11 bills into law today, all of which were recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. The Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse was created in September 2016 for the purposes of advising and assisting the Governor in a coordinated effort to combat the opioid crisis facing the State of Wisconsin.