Legislators Okay $31 Million For Opioid Treatment
Joint Finance makes $3 million change in how Evers planned to spend opioid suit settlement money.
The $31 million proposal cleared the Joint Finance Committee with bipartisan and unanimous support Thursday despite some earlier disagreement.
Republicans pushed back against the initial version of the plan released by Gov. Tony Evers‘ state Department of Health Services, arguing it lacked sufficient input from members of law enforcement and other stakeholders. The version they passed added $3 million in direct grants to local law enforcement agencies for purposes including safe drug disposal programs, training, pre-trial diversion programs and substance abuse treatment for jail inmates.
“We know as legislative Republicans that law enforcement and our public safety folks are the boots on the ground,” said Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, who co-chairs the finance committee.
Democrats said the Evers administration’s plan followed robust community input, and accused Republicans of holding up the process.
State Sen. Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said the issue is personal to him because his daughter suffers from addiction and has needed to be revived with Narcan at least once.
In 2020, the latest full year of data available, there were 1,227 deaths in Wisconsin opioid-related deaths, according to DHS.
Wisconsin got it first $6 million installment in late July from the multi-state lawsuit against opioid maker Janssen Pharmaceuticals and three opioid distributors. The state expects to get $25 million more from the settlement by the end of this year.
Milwaukee Democrat Evan Goyke accused Republicans of playing politics in an election year, though he ultimately voted in favor of their proposal.
“It’s the silly season,” he said. “The plan that was submitted and the plan’s that’s moving forward, what’s the amount of overlap? Eighty-five percent or so. Good enough. Let’s get the money out the door.”
Wisconsin lawmakers earmark $31M from settlement with opioid companies was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.
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- MKE County: Drug Settlements Could Help Expand Opioid Addiction Programs - Graham Kilmer - Sep 21st, 2023
- DHS Awards Funding to Law Enforcement Agencies Working to Address the Opioid Epidemic - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Sep 21st, 2023
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- Attorney General Kaul Joins Law Enforcement, Public Health Officials Across Wisconsin to Highlight Additional NARCAN® from Opioid Settlements - Wisconsin Department of Justice - Aug 8th, 2023
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- DHS Announces Expansion of Harm Reduction Efforts - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Jun 29th, 2023
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Read more about Opioid Crisis here