Capitol Update

by Senator Howard Marklein

April 19, 2024


Combating Opioid Addiction

Drug Take-Back Day is April 27, 2024

Opioid drug abuse continues to be a massive problem in Wisconsin and throughout the United States. The WI Department of Health Services (DHS), in collaboration with communities all around the state, has planned a Drug Take Back Day for April 27, 2024 to continue combating opioid addiction.
Drug Take Back Day includes special events where you can bring unused and expired medications for safe disposal.  The sites accept capsules, creams, inhalers, non-aerosol sprays, ointments, patches, pills, vials and vape pens/e-cigarettes with batteries removed.  They do not accept aerosol cans, anything containing blood or bodily fluids, household waste, illegal drugs, medications that contain iodine, mercury thermometers, personal care products, sharps/syringes or vape pens/e-cigarettes with built-in batteries. 
Drug Take Back collection is an easy, no-questions-asked way to safely dispose of unused or expired medication. It is very important to safely dispose of medication so that it does not land in the hands of someone who might abuse it or pollute our environment. It is not safe to flush medications. We do not want these chemicals in our water supply.
The following locations have special events planned this month. There are also many permanent sites throughout the 17th Senate District where you can take expired and unused medications for disposal.  To find a year-round collection site, please visit https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/opioids/permanent-drug-drop-boxes.htm
Special Events in, or near, the 17th Senate District:
April 20, 2024, 9 a.m. – noon – Gays Mills Community Center, 16381 WI-131, Gays Mills
April 27, 2024
Noon – 2 p.m. – Belleville Police Department, 61 Frederick Street, Belleville
10 a.m. – 2p.m. – Spring Green Police Department, 137 N Washington Street, Spring Green
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Highland Police Department, 530 Main Street, Highland
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Benton Police Department, 244 Ridge Ave., Benton
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Richland Center Police Department, 470 S Main Street, Richland Center
8 a.m. – noon – Sauk County Sheriff’s Office, 1300 Lange Ct., Baraboo
In addition to Drug Take Back Day and the permanent collection sites around the state, many different levels of governments, schools, health care providers and others are working to prevent opioid abuse and overdoses. Wisconsin has received $41 million from the National Opiate Settlement in which states and local governments won a judgement against the three largest pharmaceutical distributors, McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, Johnson & Johnson, as well as three pharmacy chains, CVS, Walgreens and Walmart and two manufacturers, Allergan and Teva.  In total, we are due to receive $750 million throughout the settlement distribution.
The funds from this settlement are distributed on an annual basis and must be used for abatement of the opioid epidemic. Each year, DHS proposes a plan to the Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) to distribute the funds. This plan usually arrives to our committee about the same time a quarterly report is issued to describe the status and effectiveness of past funding.  You can view all of the proposals and reports here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/opioids/settlement-funds.htm#2024
In fiscal year 2024, Wisconsin received $8 million. We allocated these funds to distribute NARCAN and fentanyl test strips, to reimburse room and board costs for Medicaid members seeking substance use disorder treatment, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in our prison system, a substance use disorder treatment dashboard and training for Surgeons to counsel patients to prevent opioid abuse.
In fiscal year 2023, we received $31 million. We allocated these funds to school-based prevention programs, after-school prevention programs, NARCAN and fentanyl test strips, MAT treatment, a home health pilot program, room and board costs for treatment, construction costs for treatment facilities, an overdose alert system, tribal projects and several law enforcement programs.
We are now reviewing DHS’s plan for the $36 million we will receive in fiscal year 2025. While they are focusing on some of the same priorities as past years, they have also proposed some new uses. JFC members are also receiving feedback from stakeholders who have ideas and observations. We are learning what works and we are looking for new ways to address this issue. 
You can do your part to combat opioid abuse and addiction by spring-cleaning your unused or expired medication and disposing of it safely. Protect the people in your life and others in our community by taking part in a Drug Take Back Day event this year.
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As always, if you need assistance with any state-related matters, please call our team at the State Capitol – 608-266-0703 – or email me – Sen.Marklein@legis.wisconsin.gov.  My team is ready, and willing, to help navigate your state government, clear obstacles and receive your input.