UPDATE: Walker signs package of anti-heroin bills

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UPDATED Monday, April 7, 2014 --- 1:30 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin law enforcement groups are applauding the governor's signing of seven bills that target the state's heroin epidemic.

Gov. Scott Walker signed four of the bills, dubbed Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education or HOPE, into law Monday. Walker planned to sign all seven bills later in the day. All seven bills were authored by Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette.

The bills already signed increase state funding for heroin treatment programs and grant immunity to anyone who calls 911 to report a drug overdose.

Walker also signed a bill that will create regional drug treatment facilities and a bill that creates a system of short-term sanctions for parole and probation violators.

The signing came as little surprise after all seven bills found widespread support and passed both state houses unanimously.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, April 7, 2014 --- 8:52 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker plans to sign seven anti-heroin bills at stops across Wisconsin.

Walker scheduled bill signings for Monday in Marinette, Stevens Point, Eau Claire, and Milwaukee. The bills all easily cleared the Legislature earlier this year with bipartisan support.

One bill would permit all emergency responders with training to administer Narcan, a drug that counteracts heroin overdoses.

Another would guarantee a measure of immunity for anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose.

A third bill would allow municipalities to hold prescription drug collection drives.

And a fourth would require identification to obtain prescription drugs containing narcotics.

All four were introduced by Rep. John Nygren, a Republican from Marinette, whose daughter has struggled with heroin addiction.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 1, 2014 --- 7:32 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate has passed the final two pieces of a package of bills designed to combat heroin use.

Republican Rep. John Nygren, whose daughter has struggled with heroin use, introduced a half-dozen bills this session addressing heroin use. Four of them already have passed the Legislature and await Gov. Scott Walker's signature.

The last two bills would create regional treatment centers and require the Department of Corrections to establish a system of quick sanctions for offenders who violate parole or probation in hopes of getting addicts treatment faster.

The Assembly passed those measures in February. The Senate unanimously approved them Tuesday, the last day of the two-year legislative session. They now go to Walker for his consideration.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, April 1, 2014 --- 10:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate is ready to put the finishing touches on a package of bills designed to combat heroin use.

Republican Rep. John Nygren, whose daughter has struggled with heroin use, has introduced a half-dozen bills this session addressing heroin use. Four of them already have passed the Assembly and Senate and await Gov. Scott Walker's signature.

The last two bills would create regional treatment centers and require the Department of Corrections to establish a system of quick sanctions for offenders who violate parole or probation in hopes of getting addicts treatment faster.

The Assembly passed those measures in February. The Senate is set to take them up on Tuesday, the last day of the two-year legislative session. Approval would send the bills on to Walker.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, March 26, 2014 --- 6:21 p.m.

The last of the heroin bills is making its way to the Senate today. A bill that would have parole violators face immediate penalties for their actions is voted out of a Senate committee.

A number of bills have come through this session, aimed at cutting down on the heroin epidemic that's rushing through the state. Today we spoke with an addiction specialist who says, the bills, while well-intentioned, might be missing the mark.

"My daughter has had an addiction going back since 2007."

Dealing with addiction is something Representative John Nygren has gotten pretty good at.

"She's still in the corrections system, she violated her parole, which is pretty common when you have an addiction. I think shes due to be released June 6th."

His daughter Cassie--his inspiration to help Wisconsin heroin and opiate addicts all over.

"It's so much bigger than just her experience it's the experience of so many parents and families throughout the state."

Today's bill will head to the Senate floor Tuesday for a vote. It would keep addicts from being sent right back to prison if they relapse---which addiction specialist, Michael Florek says is a good plan.

"Jail isn't going to do any good other than to scare you a little bit, sober you up a little bit and as a conduit to get you into treatment, so I agree with going back to jail for a while but not back into the prison system, that's going to make matters worse in my opinion."

He says addiction is a disease, and if they're not criminals, prison wont help. But he says lawmakers might not be on the right path targeting just heroin and opiates.

"Addicts are always going to stay ahead of us, they have since I've been around. There's always going to be a new drug that's easier to get."

And he says when the drug culture changes, today's laws will be outdated.

"Today it's heroin tomorrow it's alcohol the next cocaine, we have a disease and that's what we're trying to treat, we're not treating heroin addiction we're not treating heroin addiction we're treating the disease of addiction."
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UPDATED Wednesday, March 26, 2014 --- 1:16 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state Senate committee has unanimously approved a bill to combat heroin use.

The measure would require the Department of Corrections to set up a formal system of quick sanctions short of prison for offenders who violate their parole or probation. The measure's author, Republican Rep. John Nygren, says faster sanctions would help heroin addicts get treatment quicker.

The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote in February. The Senate's public safety committee approved it 5-0 on Wednesday, clearing the way for a full vote in the Senate. That chamber's last scheduled floor period before the two-year legislative session ends is Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's aides didn't immediately respond to an email message asking whether the bill will get on Tuesday's agenda.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATE Wednesday, March 26, 2014 --- 5:30 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A state Senate committee is set to hold a public hearing on a bill to combat heroin use.

The measure would require the Department of Corrections to set up a formal system of quick sanctions short of prison for offenders who violate their parole or probation. The measure's author, Republican Rep. John Nygren, says faster sanctions would help heroin addicts get treatment quicker.

The Assembly passed the bill on a voice vote in February. The Senate's public safety committee has scheduled a public hearing and a vote on the measure for Wednesday morning.

Approval would clear the way for a vote in the full Senate on April 1, the last day the chamber is scheduled to convene before the two-year legislative session ends.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 18, 2014 --- 6:13 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate has passed a bill targeting heroin use in Wisconsin.

The bill approved Tuesday has already passed the Assembly with bipartisan support and now heads to Gov. Scott Walker.

It would require state health officials to create regional opiate treatment centers in underserved areas.

A vote on a second bill was delayed until next month. That bill would require the state Department of Corrections to set up a formal system of quick sanctions short of prison for substance abusers who violate their parole or probation.

The bills are sponsored by Republican Rep. John Nygren, whose daughter has struggled with heroin use.

Four other Nygren-sponsored bills addressing heroin use have already passed the Legislature and are awaiting Walker's signature.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, March 18, 2014 --- 6:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Two more measures targeting heroin use in Wisconsin are set to pass the Legislature.

The bills up Tuesday in the Senate have already passed the Assembly with bipartisan support.

One would require the state Department of Corrections to set up a formal system of quick sanctions short of prison for substance abusers who violate their parole or probation. Supporters say that will help heroin abusers get the treatment they need.

The other would require state health officials to create regional opiate treatment centers in underserved areas.

The bills are sponsored by Republican Rep. John Nygren, whose daughter has struggled with heroin use.

Four other Nygren-sponsored bills addressing heroin use have already passed the Legislature and are awaiting Gov. Scott Walker's signature.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Monday, March 17, 2014 --- 5:30 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Senate is poised to pass a pair of bills designed to combat heroin use.

One would require the Department of Corrections to set up a formal system of quick sanctions short of prison for offenders who violate their parole or probation. The other would require state health officials to create regional opiate treatment centers in underserved areas.

Both measures easily passed the Assembly last month. The Senate is set to take them up on Tuesday.

The bills are sponsored by Republican Rep. John Nygren, whose daughter has struggled with heroin use.

Four other Nygren-sponsored bills addressing heroin use have already passed the Legislature and are awaiting Gov. Scott Walker's signature.

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UPDATED Tuesday, January 14, 2014 --- 6:18 p.m.

The Wisconsin Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a package of legislation designed to protect heroin addicts.

The bills would allow all emergency responders with training to administer Narcan, a drug that counteracts heroin overdoses; guarantee a measure of immunity for anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose; allow municipalities to hold prescription drug collection drives; and require identification to obtain prescription drugs containing narcotics.

"We've seen a major influx in the last few years."

All too often it's a heroin overdose.

Kevin Florek with Tellurian says the bills could help thousands, not only encouraging 911 calls when something goes wrong, but saving lives after an overdose.

"Narcan can bring them back very quickly and has been proven to save the lives of people who OD on heroin."

But putting the powerful antidote in the hands of first responders could be a double edged sword, Janesville Deputy Chief Dan Davis says it could lead to a false sense of safety.

"There are certainly some who have a feeling of invincibility because they believe that if they OD that Narcan will be available and will rescue them."

And that's not the only concern Davis has. He says he's also wondering who's going to foot the bill?

"I do have some concerns about funding. Not only for the drug but for the training."

But he says as the heroin problem continues in Janesville any legislation that can save a young life is a good thing. And Florek says these bills are a great start but ultimately what addicts need is treatment.

If you or a loved on is in need of help you can call Tellurian at (608)222-7311

UPDATED Tuesday, January 14, 2014 --- 3:11 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a package of legislation designed to protect heroin addicts.

The bills would allow all emergency responders with training to administer Narcan, a drug that counteracts heroin overdoses; guarantee a measure of immunity for anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose; allow municipalities to hold prescription drug collection drives; and require identification to obtain prescription drugs containing narcotics.

Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican, wrote the bills. His daughter is struggling with heroin and nearly died from an overdose in 2009.

The Assembly passed all four bills unanimously. The package goes next to the state Senate.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Tuesday, January 14, 2014 --- 7:55 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly is poised to take up a package of legislation designed to protect heroin addicts.

The bills would allow all emergency responders with training to administer Narcan, a drug that counteracts heroin overdoses; guarantee a measure of immunity for anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose; allow municipalities to hold prescription drug collection drives; and require identification to obtain prescription drugs containing narcotics.

Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican, wrote the bills. His daughter is struggling with heroin and nearly died from an overdose in 2009.

The Assembly is scheduled to vote on the bills Tuesday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Saturday 11, 2014 --- 5:39 p.m.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (AP) -- The state Department of Health Services is trying out a program to prevent overdose deaths.

The Leader-Telegram reports (http://bit.ly/1exomq5 ) 47 agencies statewide are participating in the one-year pilot program. Their emergency medical technicians will be allowed to administer the narcotic antidote naloxone, widely known by the brand name Narcan.

It's injected to counter the breathing difficulties, low blood pressure and other effects from an overdose of heroin or prescription opiate pain relievers.

Under current state policy, only advanced life support EMTs can administer naloxone with overdose patients.

The newspaper reports the rate of overdose-related hospitalizations and emergency department visits in the state have nearly quadrupled since 2002, hitting nearly 1,200 in 2011.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press
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UPDATED Thursday, January 9, 2014 --- 2:42 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin Assembly's criminal justice committee has approved a trio of bills designed to help heroin victims and eliminate leftover prescription drugs.

Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican, has introduced four bills addressing heroin use. The criminal justice committee considered three of them Thursday, including proposals that would allow all trained first responders, police and fire fighters to administer Narcan, a drug that counteracts overdoses; provide immunity for anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose; and allow municipalities to run prescription drug collection drives.

The Republican-controlled committee approved each bill unanimously. The votes clear the way for the full Assembly to consider the proposals on Tuesday.

The fourth bill would require identification to obtain prescription drugs. The Assembly's health committee is expected to vote on that measure later Thursday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, January 9, 2014 --- 11:58 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The author of a bill that would allow emergency workers to administer Narcan in heroin overdoses is telling a legislative committee the proposal will save lives.

Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican, has introduced four bills addressing heroin use. The Assembly's criminal justice committee held a public hearing on three of them Thursday.

The panel started with a proposal that would allow trained first responders, police and fire fighters to administer Narcan, a drug that counteracts heroin overdoses, and grant them legal immunity for their actions.

Nygren told the committee the measure will undoubtedly save lives and lawmakers need to pass it immediately.

The committee is expected to vote on all three bills later Thursday. Approval would clear the way for a full vote in the Assembly.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 --- 6:28 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A legislative committee is set to take public comments on a package of bills designed to combat heroin addiction.

Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican whose daughter has struggled with heroin addiction, introduced the proposals. One bill would allow trained first responders, police officers and firefighters to administer Narcan, a drug that counters the effects of a heroin overdose. Another would provide limited immunity for people who get medical help for someone suffering from an overdose. A third would allow the state Justice Department as well as municipal governments to authorize people to run drug disposal programs.

The Assembly's criminal justice committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the measures Thursday. The committee is expected to vote on whether to pass the proposals on to the full body.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press


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