February 6, 2016

Legislation targeting heroin use clears Assembly

The state Assembly has approved a package of bills aimed at reducing heroin-related deaths in Wisconsin.

Lawmakers unanimously approved four bills Tuesday, which include measures that protect heroin users who call 911 to report an overdose and that would make it easier for first responders to administer a drug called Narcan, which can counteract an overdose. Other bills would require those picking up prescription pain killers to show an ID and allow communities to set up drug collection programs. Both measures are aimed at reducing the availability of prescription narcotics, which can often serve as a gateway drug for heroin addicts.

State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) was the driving force behind the proposals. His support for the changes came out of his family’s own experiences with the drug, after his daughter overdosed on heroin and was later jailed because of her addiction.

The Marinette Republican says none of the bills are the “end all, be all” to address an epidemic of heroin abuse in the state, but “they are a significant steps towards correcting the problem.”

All four bills now head to the state Senate.

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