Governor's Opioid Task Force Gets Underway

Posted at 6:09 PM, Oct 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 23:11:05-04

The public was invited to Friday's meeting at Aurora Health Care in Green Bay to listen to a panel of 20 people work together to find solutions to what they say is a growing epidemic in Wisconsin.

According to recent data, between 2004 and 2014 the number of drug related deaths nearly doubled.

Governor Scott Walker has put together a task force to help bring those numbers down.

"We've got a broad base of experience and we hope to be able to bring all those minds and ideas together to further address this problem," said Marinette Republican Representative, John Nygren.

Backgrounds in law enforcement, health care, state and local government and people who've personally dealt with addiction, like Rep. Nygren who's daughter has battled heroin for years.
"I prefer not to have this experience, but seeing as I got it, let's use it for something positive," said Rep. Nygren.
The goal of the task force is simple enough, to find a solution to the opioid problem in Wisconsin.
"When an opioid is prescribed that can potentially as dangerous as heroin," said Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.
Doctors say many times addictions start with abusing opioids like Oxycodone, Morphine and Fetanyl which can then turn into heroin usage.
They say finding signs of addiction can be tough, but there are some things to look for.
"Challenges with not being able to sleep well.  They may have challenges with depression.  They may have issues with difficulty with work or holding their job," explained Aurora Health Care chief medical officer, Andy Anderson.
The collaboration is aimed at prevention and treatment.
"We want to make sure that people are recovering from any sort of medical issue they have but on the same vein we want to make sure that nothing illegal happens and nothing leads to a heroin addiction and nothing leads to an opiate addiction to begin with," said Lt. Gov. Kleefisch.
The task force is scheduled to meet every month and travel across the state looking for ways to eliminate opiate addictions in Wisconsin.