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Letter from Rep. Knutson: Knutson cosponsors legislation targeting Heroin abuse

MADISON -- Last week, Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) agreed to co-sponsor the HOPE (Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education) legislative package, four bills promoting awareness and targeting the abuse of heroin and opiates in Wisconsin.

“I am acutely aware that Wisconsin, particularly St. Croix County, has been plagued by heroin abuse in recent years.  These bills, while not solving every problem, will go a long way toward reducing the horrible effects this scourge has had on our communities.  I applaud my colleague, Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), for his extensive work on this crucial legislation.”

The four bills will target the following areas:

•  Providing limited immunity from certain criminal prosecutions for a person who brings another person to an emergency room or healthcare facility, or calls 911 for a person who is overdosing

•  Encouraging the operation of community drug disposal programs statewide to accept and properly dispose of unwanted prescription drugs

•  Requiring those picking up opiate prescriptions to show a photo ID

•  Allowing more EMTs and first responders to administer Narcan, a drug that can help counter a heroin overdose

“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,” said Rep. Knudson.

“Informing our children about the dangers of abusing these drugs, while educating our communities about the potential for experimentation and abuse is the first step in stopping heroin and opiate addiction in Wisconsin.  I am hopeful that this legislation will aid that process.”