Walker signs heroin HOPE bills in De Pere

Posted at 2:30 p.m. on July 17, 2017

The Brillion News

DE PERE – Governor Scott Walker signed four special session bills into law today that are part of the Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education (H.O.P.E.) agenda passed by the Wisconsin legislature during a special session. The four bills relate to medical measures to prevent and treat opioid addiction.

The bill signing was held at the Medical College of Wisconsin’s new school on the Saint Norbert College campus.

Special Session Assembly Bill 4 requires a prescription for certain Schedule V controlled substances. Under the bill, all Schedule V substances categorized as narcotic drugs containing nonnarcotic active medicinal ingredients require a prescription. In addition to Schedule V controlled substances containing the opioid codeine, this includes Schedule V controlled substances that contain dihydrocodeine, ethylmorphine, diphenoxylate, opium, and difenoxin.

Special Session Assembly Bill 7 allows hospitals to receive grants for addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry specialist residents if they are practicing family medicine, general surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, or internal medicine and are enrolled in an existing accredited graduate medical training program. Under the bill, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) could award grants to hospitals seeking to develop a new addiction medicine specialty fellowship program.

Special Session Assembly Bill 8 requires the state Department of Health Services (DHS) to add two or three more opiate and methamphetamine addiction treatment centers in rural, underserved, or high-need areas. This bill builds upon 2013 Wisconsin Act 195, which required DHS to create two or three regional comprehensive opioid treatment programs in rural, underserved, and high-need areas of the state.

Special Session Assembly Bill 9 requires DHS to establish an addiction medicine consultation program for physicians. DHS would be responsible for requesting and reviewing proposals from organizations to establish the consultation program and would fund a provider or providers that meet the required criteria.

Later at D.C. Everest High School near Wausau, the governor signed three other bills into law that also target heroin addiction.

They are:

Special Session Assembly Bill 1 allows school bus drivers, employees, and volunteers as well as college or technical college residence hall directors with proper training to administer an opioid antagonistic, such as naloxone or Narcan, to those who appear to be experiencing an overdose.

Special Session Assembly Bill 6 permits the director of the Office of Educational Opportunity to contract for operation of a recovery charter high school as a four-year pilot project. The recovery charter school would combine academic coursework, therapeutic programming, support, and substance abuse counseling in a school setting for high school students who are recovering from a substance abuse disorder or dependency.

Special Session Assembly Bill 11 requires the Department of Public Instruction to establish a mental health training support program. The program would provide school district and charter school staff with training on Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment, or SBIRT. SBIRT is a public health screening tool and interview model that school staff may utilize to conduct early interventions with students struggling with mental health, alcohol, and drug issues.

Walker then signed four more HOPE bills into law in Onalaska:

Special Session Assembly Bill 2 increases funding for the Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) grant program by $2 million annually.

Special Session Assembly Bill 3 expands Wisconsin’s “Good Samaritan Law,” which was signed into law in 2014. Current law grants limited immunity to an individual who calls 911 to help a person experiencing an overdose. This legislation extends limited immunity to a person experiencing an overdose.

Special Session Assembly Bill 5 allows people with a drug dependency to be committed under the process for those with alcohol dependency. Under current law, individuals with an alcohol dependency can be more easily involuntarily committed to the county for treatment if approved by a circuit court. This bill adds drug dependency as a criterion to commit people under the alcoholism statute.

Special Session Assembly Bill 10 allocates four additional positions to be used for drug trafficking, thus improving the ability of the Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation to conduct drug enforcement operations. The bill also increases funding in the appropriation for law enforcement services general program operations by $420,000 both years of the 2017-19 biennium.

The photo accompanying this story was taken at the Medical College of Wisconsin @ Saint Norbert College, De Pere.

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