Rep. Nygren touts "very promising" decrease in opioid prescriptions

MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - State Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) is calling a statewide decrease in opioid prescriptions "very promising."

Nygren released a statement Monday on numbers from the Wisconsin Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

Nygren compares the number of opioid prescriptions written during April - June, 2016, and April-June, 2017.

In 2017, 17 million fewer opioid prescriptions were written during those months than in 2016. That represents a 12 percent decrease.

“The data is clear and reports that many prescribers are now more conscious of their prescribing practices, often looking for non-opioid solutions to pain. With that said, now is not the time to get complacent, we must build on this great news, there are still a lot more lives to save," Nygren says.

Target 2 Investigates witnessed evidence of the pill problem in Wisconsin. We were invited by the Wisconsin Department of Justice to see agents sort tens of thousands of pounds of medication collected during a recent Drug Take Back event.

Police from Northeast Wisconsin's 22 counties collected 12,305 pounds of medications. That's equivalent to six tons of drugs.

The state Prescription Drug Monitoring Database shows 7.5 million prescriptions for controlled substances written in Wisconsin through Oct. 1, 2017. Almost half of those prescriptions are for opioids.

Click here to view Sarah Thomsen's Target 2 Investigates report from inside the Drug Take Back.

Rep. John Nygren is behind the HOPE (Heroin, Opioid, Prevention, and Education) Agenda, which is a series of laws aimed at the opioid crisis in Wisconsin.

Click here to learn more about HOPE bills and laws.

Nygren's daughter, Cassie, has struggled with heroin addiction for years. Cassie Nygren was recently charged with two counts of reckless homicide for the drug overdose death of a pregnant woman. The woman's unborn child also died.

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