Department of Health Services – Social Detox

  • Social detoxification is detoxification in an organized, residential, nonmedical setting that is delivered by appropriately trained staff who provide safe, 24-hour monitoring, observation, and support for an individual to achieve initial recovery from the effects of a drug.
  • The first step of treatment is detoxification. Many treatment facilities will not admit a person suffering from an addiction until the drug is out of their system.
  • Insurance won’t necessarily cover inpatient services for a person who needs to detox. Because a person who is experiencing withdrawal from prescription opioids or heroin cannot die from the symptoms, a heroin or opioid addict should not be required to be in a hospital setting to detox.
  • It’s a less expensive model of detoxification than inpatient and outpatient services and is much more widely accessible to the general population.
  • During the 2015-17 state budget process, $5.38 million was allocated toward residential substance abuse services under the Wisconsin Medicaid program.
  • The Department of Health Services (DHS) has committed to using these funds for a number of treatment models, including social detoxification.
  • The goal of this provision is to expand treatment opportunities for people who suffer from substance abuse issues.


Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute Study – Opioid Pain Management

  • The goal of the proposed Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) study is to determine what the effectiveness of long-term opioid therapy is for patients with chronic, non-cancer pain.
  • This research has the potential to help reduce opioid dose escalation and, possibly through secondary measures and subgroup analysis, begin to understand which patients derive functional benefits from opioid therapy.
  • Moreover, the research trial could help lessen the overall amount of opioids being prescribed by identifying individuals who may not benefit from opioid therapy.
  • People who experience pain but lack a response to opioids may benefit from non-opioid therapies; therefore, they may not need to be put at risk for the known addictive dangers of prescription opioids.
  • Rep. Nygren sent a letter in favor of this research trial, as its findings will be beneficial in determining best practices for prescribing in the future.
  • If this trial is chosen, Rep. Nygren will work as a consultant to facilitate dialogue between the legislature and the research group undertaking the study.


Centers for Disease Control – Prescribing Guidelines

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is currently working on efforts to draft guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
  • The rapid increase in deaths and treatment admissions is directly correlated with a rapid increase in opioid sales. Prescriptions for opioids have skyrocketed over the past 15 years, yet we are not doing a better job of treating chronic pain.
  • A comprehensive approach to the opioid epidemic is necessary to save lives, and the proposed CDC guidelines play an important role.
  • It’s often useful to look at successes in other states. In Washington State, for example, opioid overdose deaths decreased by 29% after the introduction of guidelines that called for more cautious prescribing.
  • The impact of such a decrease on a national scale would be a significant step towards fighting this epidemic.
  • Rep. Nygren sent a letter to the secretary of Health and Human Services in Washington DC in support of the proposed CDC guidelines.


Wisconsin State Coalition for Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction

  • This coalition is an effort made up of state regulatory boards, medical associations, the Attorney General’s office, and the State Legislature. The mission of the coalition is to optimize Wisconsin’s health care assistance to best position providers, medical groups, and hospital systems in battling the prescription drug epidemic.
  • It’s meant to work as a vehicle to drive the regulatory changes and impact the culture of prescriptive practice in a way that both saves lives and is respectful of patients' healthcare needs.
  • This coalition is still in its beginning stages, but it’s expected to be a useful tool as we continue discussions regarding possible regulatory changes.


Support for the Federal TREAT Act

  • “TREAT” stands for “The Recovery Enhancement for Addiction Treatment” Act.
  • This act would expand access to treatment, including medication-assisted treatment, by lifting stringent federal regulations.
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), medications such as buprenorphine (Suboxone), in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of opioid dependency.
  • When taken as prescribed, buprenorphine is safe and effective.
  • This act would help increase the number of trained medical professionals that provide medication-assisted treatment. This change will save lives.
  • It’s important to increase the effectiveness and accessibility of treatment in this way to ensure people addicted to opioids are able to receive the treatment that best suits their needs.
  • Rep. Nygren, Rep. Vos, Sen. Fitzgerald, and Sen. Darling sent a joint letter to both of our state’s U.S. Senators and Wisconsin’s entire Congressional Delegation in support of the TREAT Act.


Listening Session with Advocates and Governor Walker

  • On January 15, 2016, Governor Walker and Rep. Nygren held a listening session at Prevea in Green Bay with addiction and treatment advocates from around the state.
  • Advocates included medical professionals, educators, local government officials, law enforcement, nonprofit organizations, and individuals whose lives have been touched by addiction in some way.
  • At the listening session, attendees shared their experiences with addiction. This forum worked as a sounding board for people interested in efforts to combat our state’s opioid and heroin epidemic.
  • The gathering was a successful networking opportunity where advocates were able to connect with one another. This forum helped facilitate important conversations about addiction and what can be done to combat the problem.
  • Moving forward, we plan to continue these listening sessions.