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New Heroin Laws Should Help Reduce Drug Abuse, Says La Crosse Official

La Crosse County Heroin Task Force Supports More Control Over Prescription Painkillers


Among the legislation that the state Senate approved on Wednesday were four bills aimed at reducing heroin use through improved monitoring of prescription drug use.

The approved bills would require pharmacists and other opiate dispensers to register prescriptions within 24 hours and require police to also register prescription drugs found at the scene of an overdose.

Al Bliss, coordinator for the La Crosse County Heroin Task Force, said tightening control over painkillers could help reduce the number of people developing addictions.

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“Opioids and painkillers, they’re among the highest numbers for hospitalizations that we see for drugs. And so I think that will help to reduce those numbers of drug-related hospitalizations, plus the overdose deaths that we still see from heroin and other prescription drugs,” he said.

Bliss said members of the county task force and local law enforcement supported the measure to include police information in the prescription drug database.

“It will link that back to the prescriber, and they can take appropriate action if they know that a person is diverting or selling drugs or just may have had a prescription stolen,” Bliss said.

The approved legislation also includes new requirements for methadone treatment programs.

Bliss said over 500 people in La Crosse County sought medication-assisted treatment like methadone last year.

“That’s a lot. It’s great that they’re getting the help, because these programs show that it reduces crime, it helps people obtain jobs, it helps people if they’re parents to hopefully be better parents as well,” Bliss said.

The bills now go to Gov. Scott Walker for approval.