Attorney General Josh Kaul: Progress is being made in opioid crisis
Wisconsin State Attorney General Josh Kaul says he believes the state is makin progress in efforts to combat the on-going opioid epidemic.
This comes amid Kaul's refusal to accept a settlement in a lawsuit against Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma and its owners, who Kaul says downplayed the risks of that drug.
Calling the opioid crisis one of the biggest issues facing Wisconsin, Kaul says several steps have been taken to prevent more people from becoming addicted and even dying.
"It's the most significant public safety challenge that we face, and it's one of the most significant public health issues that we face," said Kaul.
Which is why Kaul says an extra million dollars was added to the most recent state budget to go towards expanding treatment diversion and alternative programs.
Plus, law enforcement is now placing more emphasis on targeting the biggest dealers.
He added, "One of the ways that we're working to fight that epidemic is by working collaboratively so that we are able to conduct enforcement efforts that don't just try to result in a single arrest but work to, work our way up the chain of supply so that we can work to dismantle drug trafficking networks."
Just recently, Kaul said he won't join a multi-state settlement with Oxycontin maker Purdue Pharma and its owners. He argued the Sackler family made billions off the sales and the company's position in the settlement didn't provide justice.
The attorney general says any money gained from the suit would go towards both treatment and enforcement efforts.
"We're also investigating distributors and manufacturers of opioids because accountability is important and it's also important to get resources to our communities to help fight this epidemic," said Kaul, who went on, "In 2017 there were over 900 opioid related deaths in Wisconsin, and there was a slight drop in 2018 but we need to get that number much lower. It is far too high."
That same year in our area the most populated counties of Brown, Outagamie, and Winnebago had a combined, 200 of those overdose deaths.