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Local lawmaker introduces several bills to combat heroin abuse

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BELLEVUE, WI (WTAQ) - Heroin abuse in Wisconsin being called a growing problem and an epidemic.

So in order to try and save the tragic effects on abusers, families and the community, Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) is introducing four bills to work on solving this crisis.

"Citizens all over Wisconsin are alarmed by the rising use of heroin that has struck their communities," says Nygren. "They are concerned with the crime and hardship that comes with this powerful drug and realize there is a need for action."

Nygren's legislation aims to do four things:

  1. Requiring a photo ID in order to pickup prescription drugs at pharmacies
  2. Supporting and facilitating drug disposal programs and increasing the number and kind of pill take backs.
  3. Initiate a 911 Good Samaritan law in order to save lives.
  4. Increase training for EMTs and other emergency response personnel to use Narcan, including reporting of uses to law enforcement.

"Communities, like mine, have felt the effects of heroin and opiate abuse. It is a burden on local law enforcement and our court system, and has implications for our economy," says Nygren. "Together, the Attorney General, Legislature, Governor and affected state agencies will battle this latest drug epidemic, and we will win."

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a sample of Wisconsin data shows that over 160,000 Wisconsin adults report using heroin or another opiate this past year. 

For most prescription drug users, the shift to illegal and highly addictive heroin use is quick and of growing concern to Wisconsin, according to Nygren.

Brown County Drug Task Force Lt. Dave Poteat supports these measures as an effective way to help law enforcement do their jobs.

"The ID issue came with a problem that we were finding in investigating some cases. There are some places where if you want to rent a video, you have to show your ID or give them your phone number," says Poteat. "How is it that prescription drugs, particularly narcotics that are Schedule 2 drugs, how do you not have to show proof of who you are when you're picking them up?"

Nygren added that this is just the beginning of working on a number of future pieces of legislation to help combat this growing drug abuse issue in Wisconsin. 

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