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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Assemblyman Petryk's column: Legislature Continues to Fight Against Drug Abuse in Wisconsin

By Assemblyman Warren Petryk

Last session, my colleagues and I, led by Assemblyman John Nygren, passed several bills combating Wisconsin growing heroin problem.  These bills focused on additional funding for treatment facilities, punishment for those who violate their probation or parole, and immunity for anyone who helps a victim of an overdose seek medical help. 

The abuse of prescription drugs has been shown to be a gateway for heroin use and addiction.  In Wisconsin, drug overdoses have doubled since 2004 and sadly have surpassed traffic deaths in 2008.  Another staggering statistic shows that in 2013, more Wisconsin residents have died from drug abuse than from suicide, breast cancer, colon cancer, firearms, influenza, or HIV.  Clearly this illustrates how important getting this issue under control through good legislation is. 

This session, the Legislature will once again be discussing legislation as part of the HOPE (Heroin, Opiate Prevention and Education) legislative agenda to help keep Wisconsin residents from potentially dangerous access to prescription medications that can be easily abused and lead to much more serious drug addiction issues like heroin use.  On Tuesday, Assemblyman John Nygren unveiled several new bills for this session aimed at combating this important issue.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)

This legislation would require those who dispense monitored prescription drugs to submit information to the PDMP.  Also, it will require a practitioner to review a patient’s record when initially prescribing a monitored prescription drug or providing a refill. This legislation will give law enforcement and District Attorneys the ability to ask for PDMP records through DSPS if it is part of an active investigation.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) – law enforcement reporting to a prescribing physician and the PDMP when prescribed drugs are found on the scene

When a law enforcement officer is a the scene of a crime involving a controlled substance, if a prescription medication container is found the officer must report to the prescribing physician and the PDMP that the medication container was found at the scene.

Pain Clinic Registry

In several other states “pill mills” have been unfortunately popping up. These pill mills are the result of pain management clinics selling prescriptions to patients who have medical need for the medications. This bill would give the Department of Health Services oversight of pain management clinics across the state. The Department’s oversight would not be regulatory but rather a way of providing safeguards so “pill mills” do not become an issue in Wisconsin.  

Methadone Clinic Registry
This legislation would require methadone clinics gather the following data:
·         Staffing ratio
·         Number of patients receiving behavioral health services
·         Relapse rate
·         What the clinics plan for tapering an individual off of methadone if any
·         Average mileage an individual is traveling to come to a clinic

The data collected would then be reported to the Department of Health Services on an annual basis to give public health and treatment professionals a chance to analyze outcome data.

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