Assembly approves anti-heroin bills; proposals now go to Senate

MADISON -- The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a package of bills designed to slow the spread of heroin.

One bill would require opiate dispensers to enter prescriptions into a statewide database within 24 hours. The other bills in the package would require police who find an opiate prescription at an overdose scene to enter it in the database; methadone and pain clinics to register with the state, require treatment programs using methadone to report the number of people receiving the medication annually to the state.

The bills' author, Republican Representative John Nygren, says the measures are designed to prevent prescription drug abuse that can lead to heroin addiction.

The Assembly approved all four bills on voice votes on Tuesday, January 12th. The proposals now go to the state Senate.

Assembly Bill 364

Assembly Bill 364 brings Wisconsin’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in line with many neighboring states, by requiring physicians to report prescriptions within 24 hours, which will help prevent improper access to potentially deadly drugs.

Assembly Bill 365

Assembly Bill 365 strengthens the collaboration between doctors and law enforcement by allowing law enforcement to notify prescribing doctors through the PDMP that opioids prescribed by those doctors were stolen or resulted in an overdose or abuse.

Assembly Bill 366

Assembly Bill 366 provides additional oversight by the Department of Health Services and will ensure proper guidelines are in place and strictly followed at certain pain management clinics.

Assembly Bill 367

Assembly Bill 367 allows the Department of Health Services to collect data from methadone clinics and requires an annual report to ensure there is a full assessment of the clinics’ effectiveness in helping addicts stay sober.

“Law enforcement cannot win the fight against heroin and prescription narcotic painkillers alone,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “The Wisconsin State Assembly continues to be a strong ally in this fight and I appreciate the tireless efforts of Representative John Nygren and legislative leaders who are equipping law enforcement and the medical community with additional tools to save lives and improve the health and safety of our state.”