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Legislative Committee Approves Heroin Bills

Alex Hagan

Photo: Video by nbc26.com

Legislative Committee Approves Heroin Bills

CREATED Jan. 9, 2014

GREEN BAY, WI- Wisconsin lawmakers fighting a growing problem in our state, heroin. A legislative committee approved several bills addressing the issue, but will it change the tide on heroin use?

In 2011 the number of heroin cases in Wisconsin was more than 570. In 2012 rising to about 650... And another increase is expected for 2013. These four bills are expected to slow that down, but to stop it? Not likely.

The bills would allow anyone to administer Narcan in heroin overdoses, provide immunity to 911 calls from people in possession, and create drug disposal programs.

"The more access that's out there the more effective it's going to be in saving lives," says Lt. David Poteat with the Brown County Task Force.

But will it solve the problem?

"There's not  a easy and quick fix," says Poteat.

Tom Ritchie at Libertas Treatment Center in Green Bay says twenty to thirty percent of patients are heroin addicts. At their Marinette facility, about fifty percent.

"I think we're just starting to see the start of the opiate addiction. I think it's going to be here for a number of years until it cycles out," says Ritchie.

The Brown County Drug Task Force seeing two to three times more heroin cases. Lt. David Poteat says education is key.

"Needs a medical solution. We aren't going to be able to just throw everyone in jail and say that's the end of it," says Poteat.

The Assembly is expected to take up all four bills next Tuesday.
 

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