MadisonToday the State Assembly passed multiple pieces of legislation that will help improve treatment options for heroin addicts in Wisconsin. State Representative John Jagler (R-Watertown) served as the lead co-sponsor of Assembly Bill 701, which was authored by Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette). The proposal will require the Department of Health Services to create two or three regional opioid treatment centers in rural and underserved areas. The bill is a continuation of the “H.O.P.E.” (Heroin, Opiate, Prevention and Education) initiative to address opiate addiction throughout the state. 
“I’ve heard over and over again about how difficult it is to get clean from former and recovering heroin addicts. Opiates are much more addictive than most illegal substances. I was shocked to learn about how limited treatment options are for addicts in many areas throughout the state,” Jagler said. “The opioid treatment centers created by this bill will go a long way in helping high-need, underserved areas where this problem continues to grow,” said Jagler.
The primary purpose of the bill is to create opiate stabilization centers. These are programs licensed as medically monitored residential detoxification services. Addicts that are referred to these centers would undergo an intake to determine the type of detox and treatment being requested and recommended. The regional opiate treatment programs would then provide a continuation of services based on an individual’s treatment needs. Examples of these services would include inpatient residential detoxification, medication-assisted treatment and counseling, and post medication peer support.
The Assembly also passed Assembly Bill 668, which increases grant funding for treatment and diversion (TAD) programs. These grants are distributed through the Department of Justice to qualifying programs that help those who abuse drugs and alcohol. TAD programs are intended to offer alternatives to prosecution or incarceration for addicts.
“We passed a package of bills earlier this session that addressed overdose situations and prevention, but didn’t directly address treatment for those that are already dealing with addiction. These two proposals are a good start as we work on expanding treatment resources throughout the state,” said Jagler. “I was proud to support these bills and  hope that  they make it to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible.”
The bills passed in the Assembly with unanimous support. They will now head to the State Senate for approval.