Governor Walker tours the state Monday to sign the anti-heroin bills into law and draw attention to the heroin problem.
State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) is the author of the package of bills aimed at reducing heroin-related deaths in Wisconsin. The Marinette Republican says, as a legislator, he’s thrilled to see his legislation become law. As a parent and a resident of northeastern Wisconsin — which has been hit hard by heroin abuse — Nygren says he’s hopeful the legislation will prove to be successful.
“We realize that none of them are the silver bullet that’s going to make all these problems go away, but I do believe — and I hear from the advocates on a regular basis — they will make a difference.” One former addict and current advocate calls the package of bills a “light at the end of the tunnel” for folks dealing with Heroin.
Nygren drafted the legislation to help those battling heroin and opiate addictions — his own daughter among them. He managed to turn a tragedy into something positive. Nygren gives credit to his daughter, Cassie, for allowing him to use her story.
Wisconsin has a seen a growing trend of heroin abuse in all corners of the state, according to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Nygren says the biggest side effect of this legislation is bringing awareness and understanding to the significance of the heroin problem in our state.
The legislation moved quickly through the Capitol. Nygren says that’s because his colleagues realized this is an issue affecting many people in the state.
“And because of that, legislators on both sides of the aisle stepped up and were supportive. All seven bills passed unanimously. Not one negative vote in committee or on the floor … it’s a testament to my colleagues and them having a good understanding of what’s going on in their communities, as well, that made it possible to get it done so quickly.”
One of the bills allows EMTs to administer the antidote drug Narcan to those who overdose, and a Good Samaritan bill provides immunity for anyone reporting overdoses to 911. Nygren says he’ll continue to look for more ideas that can help fight the opiate battle.
The governor stops in Marinette, Stevens Point, Eau Claire, and Milwaukee to bring awareness to the bills.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:34