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September 28, 2022

9/1/2022 1:39:00 PM
Senator Marklein, why are you blocking the DHS Opioid plan?

Dear Editor;
On June 10, 2016, Republican State Senator Howard Marklein issued a statement on drug addiction and abuse, including abuse of prescription opioid pain relieving medicine. Senator Marklein stated that addictive drugs including opioids were "destroying families and taking lives from us every single day, out in the open, in our homes, our schools and our communities" and noted that almost 19,000 of 47,000 drug overdoses in 2014 were caused by opioids.
Now, in the summer of 2022, Wisconsin has received $31 million in settlement funds from a multi-state lawsuit against opioid manufacturers. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) wants to use the first payment of $6 million for community prevention efforts, increased availability of Narcan to reverse overdoses, and creation of treatment facilities.
But Senator Marklein, as co-chair of the legislative Joint Finance Committee, responded that there was an objection, which he did not identify, and that the DHS was not free to implement its plan. Senator Marklein, who only six years ago inveighed against the unchecked abuse of opioids, now says the DHS plan is and will be blocked indefinitely to "improve" it in ways not described. So the Republican legislature, under the leadership of Senator Marklein, is preventing the use of millions of dollars to alleviate the serious problem of opioid addiction in Wisconsin.
Senator Marklein owes it to Wisconsinites to explain why on earth he is blocking the use of newly-available funds to implement the DHS opioid plan, what the alleged Republican "improvements" to the plan will consist of, and how quickly he, as a Republican leader, will act on this urgent public health problem.
Marilyn Martin,
Richland Center, WI

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