Stronger Action Needed on Opioid Crisis
Walker turned down needed funds. More integrated, broad-ranging approach needed.
We are facing a crisis here in Wisconsin. Deaths from opioid overdoses are increasing faster than the national average. Much of our state is rural, making mental health and substance abuse treatment significantly harder for those living far away from treatment centers. Mental health spending in Wisconsin ranks near the bottom nationally. Scott Walker turned down federal Medicaid dollars that would go towards treatment, putting his Republican presidential primary ambitions over the needs of those suffering opioid addictions.
As governor, my agenda will be to add more integrated mental health services that incorporate a wide range of treatment options for people suffering from behavioral health disorders. To treat patients effectively, providers must rely on many options to create the best treatment approach for each individual patient. There is not a single form of treatment that works for everyone. Facilities with multiple options allow collaboration to create a plan that works for each patient without needing to access treatment from multiple locations. This creates the consistency of care that patients and providers need.
I will accept all federal health care funds and will add additional spending for mental health treatment. On top of that, I will push for more funding for our UW System. The research and health care training they do is invaluable to us. Our state universities are training the next generation of healthcare and mental health providers.
We also need to improve access to physical treatment options and encourage greater investment in telemedicine. New communication technologies allow patients and social workers to speak with medical professionals remotely, allowing them access to specialists they would otherwise have to travel to see. This way patients can get the care they need without the often-impossible task of moving to a treatment center.
Finally, we must recognize that people suffering from addiction do not belong behind bars. It is a terrible waste of resources. Not only does it cost more to keep a person locked in jail than in a treatment center, it ignores the fundamental problem of addiction. As governor, I will push for more treatment options for non-violent drug offenders, as opposed to incarceration.
Improving mental health will require more than our politicians paying lip service to the issue. It requires the focus of lawmakers to provide real funding and real policy changes. It’s time to hold the governor accountable for the state of mental health care in Wisconsin. It’s time to move forward again.
Matt Flynn is a Milwaukee attorney and a Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate.
- A Medication Rescue for Opioid Overdoses - Corri Hess - Feb 22nd, 2021
- State Receives $10 million in Opioid Crisis Settlement - Jenny Peek - Feb 5th, 2021
- AG Kaul, Gov Evers Announce $573 Million Multistate Agreement with McKinsey & Company for “Turbocharging” the Opioid Epidemic with Purdue Pharma - Josh Kaul - Feb 4th, 2021
- Gov. Evers, DHS Announce Nearly $9 Million Awarded for Drug Treatment Services - Gov. Tony Evers - Jan 14th, 2021
- AG Kaul, Bipartisan AGs Push FDA to Examine Progress in Opioid Fight - Josh Kaul - Jan 11th, 2021
- Milwaukee County Surpasses Last Year’s Record Overdose Deaths - Edgar Mendez - Nov 27th, 2020
- Overdose Responders Struggle Against Rising Deaths - Edgar Mendez - Nov 20th, 2020
- Wisconsin Drug Take Back Collection 1st in the Country; Collects Nearly 90,000 lbs. of Unwanted Medications to Fight the Opioid Epidemic - Josh Kaul - Nov 9th, 2020
- Gov. Evers, DSPS Secretary-designee Crim Announce Wisconsin Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Awarded Nearly $2 Million Grant - Gov. Tony Evers - Nov 2nd, 2020
- AG Kaul Announces Updated Settlement with Opioid Manufacturer Mallinckrodt - Josh Kaul - Oct 13th, 2020
Read more about Opioid Crisis here