Wis. WEAU Several bills designed to combat heroin use in Wisconsin and help those who are addicted are close to becoming law.
Four bills approved by the State Senate Tuesday, now are awaiting Gov. Scott Walker's signature. The bills provide immunity for those who make a 911 call and expand emergency care in the case of overdose.
“I like the fact the bill is focused around saving lives,” said Chippewa County District Attorney Steve Gibbs.
Gibbs says the 911 bill, will give immunity to anyone calling emergency services to report an overdose. The bill doesn't provide immunity for any other charges.
“All this affects is the person calling in to save someone's life; if they have paraphernalia lying around or if they're in possession of the drugs, they will be immune from the simple the possession charges,” explained Gibbs.
Eau Claire County Sheriff Ron Cramer says use of heroin has been rising in the county. City of Eau Claire EMS Division Chief Jon Schultz says last year alone they took around 40 overdose-related calls.
“It's more common that it's needed, than you realize,” said Schultz.
Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of narcotics like heroin, morphine and oxycodone is the focus of another bill.
Under current state law, no one can possess it without a prescription.
First responders and basic- level emergency medical technicians cannot administer it.
Schultz says the Narcan bill will expand who can get it and all EMT’s will be able to administer it. Which he says could save many lives; not only of those who use illegal drugs, but also those who accidentally overdose on prescription meds.
“Right not the paramedics are on the ambulance and they're (victims) not going to get that treatment until the ambulance gets there, where as if you're out in the county the first responders will be able to do it,” added Schultz.
The third bill would expand prescription drug collection drives; and the fourth would require a person to provide identification to get their prescription drugs containing narcotics.