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Wisconsin AG, DHS want to spend opioid money on treatment, prevention

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s attorney general wants to spend the state’s opioid settlement money on treatment and prevention.

AG Josh Kaul teamed with the state’s Department of Health Services to push lawmakers to use $36 million Wisconsin will get as part of the national opioid settlement this year on rehab programs and outreach.

“It’s essential that these funds be used as effectively as possible to combat the epidemic and save lives,” Kaul said in a statement.

Wisconsin’s DHS Secretary Kirsten Johnson says the spending plan came after months of listening to public health managers, people in law enforcement, and the families of people who’ve died from opioid overdoses in Wisconsin.

“These dollars don’t stop the grief that’s felt by thousands of Wisconsinites who’ve lost loved ones from opioid overdoses. They will help us prevent more deaths and keep many people from misusing opioids in the first place,” Johnson said. “This is a thoughtful plan built from the advice we received through surveys, listening sessions, and roundtable discussions, as well as reviews of data and already existing programs, and by identifying the needs that still exist.”

Wisconsin is in line for $750 million in all from the opioid settlement.

Johnson said this year’s spending breakdown includes:

● $6 million for Wisconsin’s Tribal Nations

● $5 million for community, education and after-school prevention

● $5 million for family support and resource centers

● $5 million for peer support in opioid treatment programs

● $3.5 million for naloxone

● $1 million for fentanyl test strips

● $3 million for capital projects

● $2.5 million for room and board for Medicaid members

● $1.5 million for EMS leave behind programs

● $1 million for public health vending machines

● $1 million for law enforcement grants

● $1.5 million for data collection and surveillance system enhancements

DHS says the latest numbers from 2022 show 1,464 people died of an opioid overdose in Wisconsin. Another 2,530 people went to the emergency room in 2022 because of opioid use.

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