Pubdate: Mon, 17 Jul 2017
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI)
Copyright: 2017 Journal Sentinel Inc.


MADISON -- Gov. Scott Walker signed seven bills Monday to combat the
spread of opiates and was set to approve four more.

The 11 measures, which enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the
Legislature, would funnel more money into fighting opiates, tighten
the ability to get some drugs from pharmacies and give doctors more
guidance on treating addiction. They were passed in a special session
the Republican governor called in January.

"We've taken serious steps to combat this issue, including creating
the Governor's Task Force on Opioid Abuse, but we won't stop until
there are zero opioid overdoses in Wisconsin," Walker said in a statement.

But Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-Milwaukee) said the
state should be doing more on the issue.

"It doesn't make sense to wait until someone is already hooked and
battling an opioid addiction," she said in a statement. "By improving
health care access and restoring drug abuse prevention grants, we can
get to the root of the opioid epidemic rather than simply scratching
the surface."

School employees. School employees, school volunteers and residence
hall directors will be protected from civil lawsuits if they
administered Narcan or other drugs that halt the effects of opioid
overdoses, under Special Session Assembly Bill 1. To qualify for
immunity from liability, they will have to be trained on how to use
the medication and have to call 911 as soon as possible when using

Codeine. Prescriptions will be required in all cases to get codeine,
opium and similar drugs, under Special Session Assembly Bill 4. Now,
those drugs can be acquired in limited instances without a

School for recovering addicts. A new charter school serving up to 15
high school students struggling with addiction will be established,
under Special Session Assembly Bill 6.

Addiction specialists. The state will give grants totaling $63,000 a
year to hospitals that hire more doctors who specialize in addiction,
under Special Session Assembly Bill 7.

Treatment centers. Two or three new regional opioid treatment programs
will be established, under Special Session Assembly Bill 8. The new
programs will get a total of $1 million a year.

Addiction consultation. A new program will provide doctors with expert
guidance on treating addiction, under Special Session Assembly Bill 9.
The state will spend $500,000 a year on the program.

Mental health. The state will create a program to provide training to
teachers and schools on mental health, under Special Session Assembly
Bill 11. The program will cost $200,000 a year.

Diversion. Counties will get more than $2 million in annual grants to
treat people with drug or alcohol offenses instead of sending them to
jail under Special Session Assembly Bill 2. The funds would go to
counties that already have such programs, as well as ones that so far
do not.

Opiates. Those who overdose on drugs will receive protections from
prosecution when authorities help them under Special Session Assembly
Bill 3, provided that they seek drug treatment. The bill is aimed at
ensuring people call for help when someone overdoses.

Commitment programs.Special Session Assembly Bill 5 extends the
state's voluntary and involuntary commitment programs for alcoholics
to those who habitually use drugs.

Agents. The state Department of Justice would get $420,000 a year to
hire special agents to investigate drug trafficking under Special
Session Assembly Bill 10.
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