Governor Walker Signs Opioid Bills

Today, Governor Scott Walker signed four bills into law, all having to do with the opioid crisis in Wisconsin. Fox 25/48's Erin O’Brien explains more about what the bills will do.

Governor Scott Walker joined by local law enforcement and health care leaders outside Onalaska’s police department, hoping to put a dent in the fight against opioid abuse.

The bills he signed today are meant to help law enforcement, schools, and health care providers focus on treatment and recovery.

"This is one of those where it affects small towns and big towns alike, rich or poor, doesn't matter party affiliation, religious affiliation, anything else. This is something that's affecting family and friends all across the state."

Members of the La Crosse area's drug task force say they could have a big impact on western Wisconsin.

"We've got increased funding for treatment and diversion, increased funding for healthcare providers for education in particular throughout the state having more residency trained addiction specialists."

"This gives us a few more tools to try to deal with this scourge in cities across America. It's just a scourge and the more tools we have the better we'll be able to fight this."

Walker signed a total of eleven bills today all targeting opioid abuse. He made two other stops near Wausau and Green Bay. He said he chose to sign them all in different locations to show that the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin has no borders.

But democratic senator Jennifer Shilling says this is isn't enough, calling Walker's response to the opioid epidemic "limited," and saying more focus should be put on the state budget and access to insurance.

"In the meantime, there are still some deep cuts that are being proposed to healthcare in this country and in this state, and people, that's the first step. They need to have insurance coverage so they can access treatment, so they can begin the road to recovery."

Health care leaders in the La Crosse area say no matter what the impact these laws have, it could take a few years to see any long-term effects.

In Onalaska, Erin O’Brien, Fox 25/48 News at Nine.

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