Two new counter-opioid initiatives announced

Posted at 11:30 a.m. on January 19, 2018

The Brillion  News

MADISON – Governor Scott Walker is issuing two Executive Orders addressing the opioid crisis in Wisconsin.

The orders embody recommendations set forth by the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse to create a Commission on Substance Abuse Treatment Delivery to study the “hub-and-spoke” opioid treatment model and to implement new practices in multiple state agencies.

Governor Walker signed the orders at the Eau Claire County Sheriff’s Office along with Task Force Chairs Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Representative John Nygren, R-Marinette.

“Through the guidance and recommendations of the Task Force, we’ve created reforms that will open the door to the best treatment outcomes for patients and their families,” Walker said.

According to the Department of Health Services (DHS), in 2016, 827 people died in Wisconsin of opioid overdose deaths caused by heroin, or prescription drugs, or both. From 2000 to 2016, the number of deaths in Wisconsin due to prescription opioids increased 600 percent, from 81 to 568 in 2016. Heroin overdose deaths increased 12 times, from 28 deaths in 2000 to 371 deaths in 2016.

The Task Force co-chairs also presented the Governor with a report that provides additional recommendations for legislative action.

Executive Order #273 instructs multiple state agencies to adopt the Task Force on Opioid Abuse co-chairs’ recommendations to improve awareness and prevention practices relating to opioids:

DHS will work to improve the efficiency of care for ex-offenders, cooperate with law enforcement officials in developing training regarding opioid-abuse, convene a faith-based summit on opioids for faith-based officials, and develop a statewide standard for data submission on people seeking substance abuse treatment.

The Department of Children and Families will revise its Child Protective Services Standards to better reflect the impact of substance abuse issues arising in child welfare cases.

The State Patrol and Capitol Police will incorporate software involved in reporting and responding to overdose incidents.

Executive Order #274 creates the Governor’s Commission on Substance Abuse Treatment Delivery to study the “hub-and-spoke” delivery model for opioid treatment. The model relies on regional “hubs” that commit to serving as resource centers for addiction treatment and on “spokes” in communities that refer cases in and take referrals from the hubs. The model provides increased access to treatment and addiction care providers throughout the state, and has proved successful in improving treatment delivery in several other states.

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