Governor Names Society to Task Force on Opioid Abuse

October 07, 2016 11:15 AM | Sally Winkelman (Administrator)

September 29, WMS Medigram

The Wisconsin Medical Society has been named to a new Task Force on Opioid Abuse announced by Governor Scott Walker last Friday. The announcement came after Gov. Walker issued ​Executive Order #214, which also appoints several agency secretaries, or their designees, to the task force.

“We’ve recently seen opioid use and abuse escalate throughout Wisconsin,” said Gov. Walker. “The bottom line is this has become an epidemic and every year we see more people dying from opioid overdose. We’ve taken serious steps in the past to combat opioid abuse in Wisconsin, including signing Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education, or H.O.P.E., legislation into law last spring, and issuing a standing order allowing naloxone to be dispensed without individual prescriptions. These efforts are saving lives and helping people get the support they need to recover. Our announcement today about the creation of the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse demonstrates our unified efforts and brings us closer to our goal of ending opioid abuse and overdose in Wisconsin.”

The task force will meet in the coming weeks and months to advance work already being done to combat opioid abuse, and to make additional recommendations to end the opioid crisis in Wisconsin. Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Rep. John Nygren will serve as co-chairs. Other participants include Attorney General Brad Schimmel, representatives from law enforcement and public health, the Wisconsin Hospital Association, the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Coalition for Prescription Drug Abuse Reduction, and legislators and members of the public.

“One of the strengths of Wisconsin’s strategy in fighting the opioid abuse epidemic is the collaboration among elected officials, law enforcement, physicians and other health care groups. We all bring different perspectives and experiences about this crisis and we all learn from one another,” said Society Chief Medical Officer Donn Dexter, MD. “Governor Walker’s action this morning will enhance these efforts even further. Coordinating government agencies’ statewide reach with health professionals’ knowledge will maximize our ability to make progress by saving lives.”

More information about the task force is included in this ​press release.