Committee Holds Hearing on Heroin Legislation - WBAY

Committee Holds Hearing on Heroin Legislation

Madison -

The State Assembly is expected to take up a package of bills next week that would help to combat the growing heroin problem in Wisconsin. The legislation includes bills that would grant immunity to people who call 911 during an overdose and expand the number of first responders who could administer the life-saving drug narcan. But first the bills were debated during a public hearing in Madison Thursday morning.

State Representative John Nygren introduced the legislation, being called the HOPE Agenda, because of his family's own personal struggle with heroin addiction. His daughter is an addict.

He says, "The efforts we're undertaking may not be the silver bullet that's going to completely erase heroin and opiate addiction, this is part of the process to educate our citizens our parents and our young people about how dangerous this could be how innocently it can start and once it does just how life threatening it can be."

Karen Hale and Alex Hoffman understand that more than anyone. Both parents lost a child to a heroin overdose and both spoke in favor of the legislation.

"These bills are out here to save lives," says Karen Hale. "Why would the State of Wisconsin not want to save a life?"

Adds Alex Hoffman, "We fail if we don't try. There's going to be successes and failures. There's going to be questions just as you have, but if we do nothing today, tomorrow, more

children will die."

While opponents of the bills commended lawmakers for drafting them. They did raise some concerns with regard to liability and cost.

"I just think that the bill could be simplified and accomplish the well deserved objectives," suggests Daniel Rottier from WI Association of Justice.

The full Assembly is expected to take the bills up next week.

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