Governor Walker signs bills into law to fight state opioid epidemic

DE PERE (WFRV) - State Representative John Nygren has lead the Hope Agenda after his daughter became addicted to opioids and his community of Marinette led the state per capita in drug overdose deaths.

"My entrance into this fight began with my daughter," said Nygren. "I didn't want to see my friends and neighbors go through the same struggle that my family is."

Nygren spearheaded 28 bills that have been turned into law, Governor Scott Walker signed eleven of this today, including four at the Medical College of Wisconsin on the St. Norbert campus.

"It knows no boundaries and therefore we need solutions that cross every boundary possible and so these are just a series of bills that provide more tools that provide more assistance," said Walker.

To fight this national epidemic leaders in Wisconsin have collaborated with physicians, law enforcement and addiction specialists in an attempt to get to the root of the problem.

Medical students were on hand as there has been an effort to lower the amount of prescription drugs issued because these opioids often lead to heroin use and addiction comes easy.

"I think it's hard in medicine because our instinct is to treat and help alleviate our patients pain in whatever way we know how," said Reed Collins who is in medical schools at MCW. "But, now we are realizing that even though narcotics can take away that pain instantly, it might not be best for the patient long term."

However, ever single day 91 Americans die from opioid induced overdoses according to the CDC, and another part of these laws helps first responders and the public get Narcan to help in the fight.

"You can save their life, they don't always go into treatment after you save their life, sometimes they go back to using," said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. "But we can't help them if they are not alive."

The Hope Agenda initiative has also set up three clinics in the state for people addicted to opioids, including one in Marinette.

John Nygren's daughter has continued to battle with addiction, it started when she was 17, now she's 28, but she's still alive.

"There are good days and there's bad days," said Nygren.

Nygren's office released a description of the bills signed into law on Monday.

You can read the descriptions here: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/eupdates/asm89/Complete%20HOPE%20Agenda%20Summary.pdf

 


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