Governor Walker Takes Additional Action to Fight Opioid Crisis
Wisconsin continues to lead the way forward
“Wisconsin is a national leader in addressing the opioid crisis, as we’ve signed 28 bipartisan bills into law so far,” said Governor Scott Walker. “But there’s more work to be done: too many Wisconsin families feel the painful effects of this crisis every day. Through the guidance and recommendations of the Task Force, we’ve created reforms that will open the door to the best treatment outcomes for patients and their families.”
The prevalence of opioid misuse and abuse throughout Wisconsin, and the rest of the country, is at a dangerous level, and the ramifications are tragic and wide-ranging. According to the Department of Health Services (DHS), in 2016, 827 people died in Wisconsin of opioid overdose deaths caused by heroin, or prescription drugs, or both. From 2000 to 2016, the number of deaths in Wisconsin due to prescription opioids increased 600 percent, from 81 to 568 in 2016. Heroin overdose deaths increased 12 times, from 28 deaths in 2000 to 371 deaths in 2016.
The state of Wisconsin has taken numerous important steps in recent years to address the public health crisis of opioid abuse. Governor Walker signed the Heroin, Opiate Prevention and Education (HOPE) legislative package into law in April 2014, which among other reforms provides immunity to people contacting authorities for help for someone suffering an overdose and increases funding for substance abuse treatment providers. In September 2016, Governor Walker issued Executive Order #214 creating the Task Force on Opioid Abuse to thoroughly study the opioid crisis and plan approaches to both restrict access to dangerous opioids and increase access to substance abuse treatment. To date, 28 bipartisan bills have been signed into law to combat opioid abuse in Wisconsin.
In addition to the two executive orders Governor Walker will sign today, the Task Force co-chairs also presented the Governor with a report that provides additional recommendations for legislative action.
“I am thrilled to join Governor Walker today in Eau Claire to announce a number of executive orders aimed at combatting the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin,” said State Representative John Nygren (R—Marinette), co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse. “Today is the culmination of months of hard work: a collaboration of industry experts, health care professionals and the recovery community have led to these monumental recommendations. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Walker as we take historic step towards increasing access to treatment and care to our most vulnerable.”
Executive Order #273 instructs multiple state agencies to adopt the Task Force on Opioid Abuse co-chairs’ recommendations to improve awareness and prevention practices relating to opioids:
- DHS will work to improve the efficiency of care for ex-offenders, cooperate with law enforcement officials in developing training regarding opioid-abuse, convene a faith-based summit on opioids for faith-based officials, and develop a statewide standard for data submission on people seeking substance abuse treatment.
- The Department of Children and Families will revise its Child Protective Services Standards to better reflect the impact of substance abuse issues arising in child welfare cases.
- The State Patrol and Capitol Police will incorporate software involved in reporting and responding to overdose incidents.
Executive Order #274 creates the Governor’s Commission on Substance Abuse Treatment Delivery to study the “hub-and-spoke” delivery model for opioid treatment. The model relies on regional “hubs” that commit to serving as resource centers for addiction treatment and on “spokes” in communities that refer cases in and take referrals from the hubs. The model provides increased access to treatment and addiction care providers throughout the state, and has proved successful in improving treatment delivery in several other states.
More about the Opioid Crisis
- Governor Walker Discusses the Opioid Epidemic at Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Conference - Gov. Scott Walker - Feb 5th, 2018
- Vukmir, Nygren Lead Efforts to Combat the Opioid Epidemic - State Sen. Leah Vukmir - Jan 19th, 2018
- Governor Walker Takes Additional Action to Fight Opioid Crisis - Gov. Scott Walker - Jan 19th, 2018
- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls on President Trump To Renew The Opioid Public Health Emergency - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Jan 12th, 2018
- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Calls on President Trump to Sign Bipartisan Legislation Passed by Congress to Help Halt Flow of Illicit Fentanyl into the United States - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Dec 22nd, 2017
- Drug-Related Deaths To Hit 420 in 2017 - Edgar Mendez - Dec 21st, 2017
- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Joins Bipartisan Group of Senators Urging Congressional Leadership to Commit Resources to Opioid Epidemic - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Dec 15th, 2017
- Murphy’s Law: Brad Schimel’s Opioid Problem - Bruce Murphy - Nov 14th, 2017
- Op Ed: State Leaves Counties to Sue Drug Companies - State Senators Janet Bewley and Dave Hansen - Nov 11th, 2017
- Special Report: Opioid Crisis Hits City Hard - Edgar Mendez - Nov 9th, 2017
- Opioid Crisis Still Growing - Dave Fidlin - Oct 30th, 2017
- Op Ed: Nygren, Sidener Dramatize Opioid Problem - Casey Hoff - Oct 18th, 2017
- Op Ed: The Heroin and Opioid Crisis Is Real - Isiah Holmes - Aug 28th, 2017
- The State of Politics: John Nygren’s War on Drug Abuse - Steven Walters - Jul 10th, 2017
- Op Ed: Opioid Crisis Demands Bipartisan Solutions - Jeff Plale - Feb 24th, 2017
- Prescription Drugs Lead Way to Heroin - Wyatt Massey - Mar 17th, 2016
- Heroin Deaths Up 241% Since 2010 - Wyatt Massey - Mar 16th, 2016
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