Wisconsin Governor Signs Addiction Treatment, Prevention Legislation

By Victoria Kim 04/11/18

According to his office, Governor Walker has now signed 30 bills dedicated to fighting the opioid crisis.

Governor Scott Walker
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has signed additional legislation to help alleviate the opioid crisis in his home state.

According to the governor’s office, Wisconsin counted 827 opioid-related deaths in 2016. And prescription opioids alone accounted for a 600% increase in fatalities since 2000.

On Monday (April 9) the governor signed two pieces of legislation that address multiple areas of the opioid epidemic.

The first bill, Assembly Bill 906, establishes three grant programs, dedicating millions of dollars toward jail treatment programs, prevention programs, and law enforcement efforts to investigate drug traffickers.

The second bill, AB 907, focuses on education. The legislation established a $250,000 commitment to the University of Wisconsin System to increase the number of mental health nurse practitioners and to support psychiatric nursing students who work in rural areas.

AB 907 also requires mental health professionals, including social workers, to be knowledgable about addiction treatment, and for Wisconsin schools to include drug abuse education in health classes.

According to Governor Walker’s office, he has now signed 30 bills dedicated to fighting the opioid crisis into law.

“Wisconsin is leading the nation when it comes to addressing opioid and heroin abuse,” said Walker in a statement. “This nationwide epidemic knows no boundaries. By working with law enforcement officials, medical professionals, school districts and community members we can help Wisconsin families and our communities from the dangers of opioid abuse.”

In April 2014, the governor signed legislation to establish the HOPE Agenda (Heroin, Opiate, Prevention and Education) and a prescription drug monitoring program.

In 2016, Walker signed a standing order to allow Wisconsinites to access naloxone without the need for a prescription. That same year, he formed the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse, which issued a report in early 2017 that recommended allowing schools to administer naloxone, the anti-opioid overdose drug, and creating a recovery charter high school.

Additional recommendations made by the governor’s task force include:

  • Give more resources to training doctors specializing in addiction prevention, treatment and management.
  • Hiring more staff with Child Protective Services to manage the increasing caseload of opioid-related child welfare cases.
  • Support training and hiring peer recovery coaches in prisons and hospitals.
  • Fund a state addiction treatment and recovery hotline.
  • Drug testing some welfare recipients.
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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr