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Sunday, September 26, 2021

State Rep. John Nygren unveils four-bill package to combat statewide heroin abuse

State representatives unveiled a series of bills Friday seeking to curb the rise in heroin use throughout the state.

The bills are designed to assist the state’s growing population of heroin abusers, whose medical treatment and associated crime cost the state billions, according to a press release from state Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, the bills’ main sponsor.

Nygren saw the dangers of heroin addiction firsthand while helping his daughter recover from the drug.

The package of bills, known as Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education, is comprised of four individual bills designed to reduce the human and economic costs associated with heroin addiction, according to Nygren’s release.

HOPE is designed to reduce potential abuse by preventing improper disposal of illegal substances and requiring a photo ID to pick up prescription drugs containing opiates, according to the statement. The bills would also provide limited immunity to those who alert emergency services of an overdose and would allow first responders to administer a drug designed to counter a heroin overdose.

State Rep. Dean Knudson, R-Hudson, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said in a statement he supported the bill as a way to educate the community about heroin abuse.

“We must recognize that the abuse of prescription drugs, which many of us have in our medicine cabinets, is a common gateway to heroin and opiate abuse,” Knudson said in the statement.

Nygren said the bills will also reduce the strain heroin abuse puts on local law enforcement.

The state Assembly will likely discuss the bills after they are formally introduced.

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