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Legislative package of seven bills aimed at addressing the escalating problem of opiate/heroin use and addiction

Marinette – Today, Governor Scott Walker is signing into law the Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) legislative package during stops in Marinette, Stevens Point, Eau Claire, and Milwaukee.  During the H.O.P.E. tour, Governor Walker will discuss the impact this legislation will have on those struggling with opiate abuse and addiction.

“Wisconsin, like many states across the country, is experiencing a dangerous trend – an escalating number of cases of heroin use, addiction, and overdose,” Governor Walker said.  “Heroin addiction does not discriminate, and we have to take action to protect our friends, family members, and neighbors, who need help.  I’d like to thank Representative John Nygren (R–Marinette) for addressing this deeply personal, and incredibly important, issue.  I’d also like to thank Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) for their work on this legislation.”

"I know that our H.O.P.E. Agenda isn't the 'silver bullet' to overcoming our state's heroin epidemic,” said Representative Nygren, whose daughter has battled heroin addiction.  “Rather, these seven bills are an important first step in the right direction.  I’m proud to help bring the issue of opiate addiction to the forefront in Wisconsin, and I look forward to building upon the foundation we've created with the H.O.P.E. Agenda in the future."

Statewide, the number of people arrested for heroin-related offenses rose 79 percent to 671 between 2010 and 2012, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice.  The quantity of heroin submitted to the State Crime Lab more than doubled during that time.  Heroin overdose deaths rose about 50 percent in Wisconsin in 2012 to 199. 

Assembly Bill 447 – provides limited immunity to people who call for help for someone who is suffering from an overdose.  Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls).  Assembly Bill 447 passed the Assembly 96-0 and the Senate on a voice vote; it is Act 194.

Assembly Bill 701 – creates new innovative option for individuals facing heroin and opioid addiction.  Offers the option of a long-term opioid antagonist drug (Vivitrol), which blocks the effects of opioids for 30 days, and creates regional comprehensive opioid treatment programs in rural and underserved areas of the state.  Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills).  Assembly Bill 701 passed the Assembly 95-0 and unanimously passed the Senate; it is Act 195.

Assembly Bill 702 – addresses drug offender recidivism; allows short-term sanctions for people who violate conditions of extended supervision, parole, probation, or deferred prosecution agreement.  Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls).  Assembly Bill 702 passed both the Assembly and the Senate on a voice vote; it is Act 196.

Assembly Bill 668 – nearly doubles funding for treatment and diversion (TAD) programs offering alternatives to prosecution or incarceration for substance abuse, allowing 10-15 new programs to receive funding.  Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills).  Assembly Bill 668 passed the Assembly 95-0 and the Senate 32-0; it is Act 197.

Assembly Bill 448 – regulates drug disposal programs throughout Wisconsin and makes more drug repositories more accessible.  Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls).  Assembly Bill 448 passed the Assembly 96-0 and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote; it is Act 198.

Assembly Bill 445 – requires individuals to show identification when picking up Schedule II or III narcotic/opiate prescriptions.  Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls).  Assembly Bill 445 passed the Assembly 96-0 and was concurred by the Senate on a voice vote; it is Act 199.

Assembly Bill 446 – requires all EMTs to carry the drug naloxone (also known by the brand names Narcan, Nalone, Evzio, and Narcanti), which counteracts opiate overdoses, and administer it in cases of overdose.  Under AB 446, more people will be allowed to carry naloxone, including first responders, law enforcers, and firefighters.  Authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls).  Assembly Bill 446 passed the Assembly 96-0 and passed the Senate on a voice vote; it is Act 200.

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