State Senate OK’s bills to curb opiate abuse

The Wisconsin Senate has overwhelmingly passed on a series of bills aimed at curbing opiate abuse.

The bills would increase funding for treatment and diversion programs, criminalize the use of substances or devices to interfere with drug tests, allow regulatory boards to develop guidelines on prescribing controlled substances and evaluate the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

The Senate passed the treatment bill 32-0 and the others on voice votes Tuesday. They’ve already cleared the Assembly. They now go to Gov. Scott Walker.

Rep. John Nygren, a Marinette Republican, is pushing the bills as part of a series of reforms to combat heroin and opiate abuse. Lawmakers already have passed bills aimed at curbing overdose deaths. Nygren is now focused on prescription opioid abuse, which often serves as a gateway to heroin.

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