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Call For More Funding For Opioid Prevention

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Governor Walker has called a special session of the legislature to deal with a growing opioid problem in the state, especially among young people.

While addiction experts praised Walker's call, others have said portions of the proposal are far underfunded. Last week Citizen Action of Wisconsin held a conference call on the session.

Executive Director Robert Kraig says one key component of Walker's proposal is underfunded...

"...we're pleased to see there's a prevention component on it, as prevention has been the missing piece in response to the opioid epidemic. We're concerned the actual amount of money is not nearly sufficient to have a serious prevention program to dramatically increase the safety of young people across Wisconsin...."

On Walker’s list of proposals is a $100,000 for a prevention program called Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment.

State Senator LaTonya Johnson of Milwaukee said it will take much more money to fund prevention than Governor Walker has proposed...

"...Gov. Walker's proposal of $100,000, that is significantly underfunded...."

Johnson spoke with state fiscal experts, who said it would take about $1.8 million to do an adequate screening of high school freshmen.

Kraig said in a column that what's missing from the initial response of state government to the spread of heroin and opioid addiction is a proactive prevention approach that is up to the scale of the problem Kraig said large scale prevention must start with Wisconsin's teenagers and young adults. He says research shows that nine in 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction as adults started using substances before age 18

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