Madison Today Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) voted in favor of a package of bills that intend to help address the growing heroin epidemic in the state of Wisconsin. The proposed pieces of legislation, known as the “H.O.P.E.” or Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education bills, intend to take on the heroin issue from various angles.
“Heroin has become a huge problem in the 37th Assembly district,” Jagler said. “Overdose deaths have become far too common and the ancillary crime from users looking to fund their addiction has exploded in our area. These bills, which I was proud to co-sponsor, will save lives and help law enforcement in communities across the state as they deal with this issue,” said Jagler.
The “H.O.P.E” package consists of the following four bills, authored by Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette):
- AB 446, Naloxone for Overdoses. The bill allows those who are properly trained to administer naloxone, a drug that effectively counters the effects of an opiate overdose. Currently basic EMT's are not allowed to carry it. This bill gives first responders a powerful tool to save lives in overdose situations.
- AB 447, 911 Good Samaritan. The bill grants limited immunity for a person who calls for help for someone who has overdosed from a controlled substance. This proposal will encourage individuals in life threatening situations to pursue medical attention.
- AB 448, Drug Disposal Program. The bill promotes the safe disposal of unused prescription and over-the-counter medicines by allowing for local governments to have community drug disposal programs.
- AB 455, ID for Prescription. The bill requires individuals to show proper identification when picking up certain types of narcotic/opiate prescription medications and keeps track of this record. Law enforcement cannot access these records unless they go through the proper legal channels.
“I applaud Rep. Nygren's leadership on this issue, these bills are a good start as we continue to look for more solutions,” said Jagler. “There is more work to do specifically regarding improving treatment options for addicts. There is no question that opiates are some of the most addictive substances in existence, and I have heard firsthand from former addicts that the recovery process is incredibly difficult. I am hoping to author legislation in the near future that will make treatment more effective in our state.”
All four bills passed with widespread bipartisan support and will move on the state Senate for consideration.