In 2013, Rep. Nygren introduced seven bills that laid the foundation for his Heroin, Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Agenda. These bills focused on combating Wisconsin’s heroin epidemic and were passed unanimously by both houses of the Legislature. Governor Walker signed all seven HOPE Agenda bills into law in April, 2014. Click here for more information on the seven bills.
During the 2015-16 Legislative session, Rep. Nygren offered 10 additional bills as a continuation of his HOPE Agenda. Instead of focusing solely on heroin, the bills we’ve worked on this session target the root of Wisconsin’s epidemic: prescription drug abuse and addiction. In the majority of cases, heroin addiction begins with an addiction to prescription medications. Whether these medications are obtained legally or not, we need to do our best to curtail the illegal use of these dangerous substances.
In October of 2016, Governor Walker established the Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse. This task force is made up of a multitude of state leaders, state agencies, addiction experts, and members of law enforcement and is chaired by Rep. Nygren and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch. The task force was charged with establishing a unified effort to help end opioid abuse and overdoses in our state by finding plausible, concrete solutions. The product of these meetings was a list of recommendations given to the Governor on how best to combat this issue at the state level. From these recommendations, 11 pieces of legislation were crafted. The Governor then called on the state legislature to hold special session on these 11 bills.
Today, there are 30 proposals that make up the HOPE Agenda legislative package and I am proud to say that all 30 have successfully been approved by both Houses of the State Legislature and have been signed into law by Governor Walker.