Ron and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel are fighting against the heroin epidemic and other drug issues affecting Wisconsin families.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Monday that the country’s opioid epidemic has hit families across Wisconsin, including his own.
The Republican from Oshkosh said that within the last few months, he had a nephew die of a heroin overdose. Citing privacy concerns of his family, he didn’t give the nephew’s name.
“I’ve talked to so many people in Wisconsin who have been affected by this,” Johnson said. “It’s not the reason I want to champion this cause. I want to champion this cause because this is affecting so many lives.”
“But I’m just pointing out the fact that I have firsthand experience. … It happened in our own family,” he said.
Johnson was speaking during a teleconference with Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. They were discussing the recent U.S. Senate passage of Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which authorizes grants to states to expand drug treatment and prevention.
Johnson and his Democratic counterpart, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, both voted to approve the measure, which passed 94-1. There is a companion bill in the House.
Johnson said his nephew’s problem “started with a sports injury, addiction to pain medications.”
Johnson said that with the price of heroin coming down so dramatically, it’s often cheaper to use the dangerous street drug than to purchase opiate prescription drugs.
“This was a tragedy affecting all elements of society,” he said. “That’s why it has to be addressed.”
Schimel said when figures are released for 2015, he anticipates drug overdose deaths will overtake falls as the “No. 1 cause of injury death in our state.”
Schimel said the issue goes beyond just the individuals and families facing addiction.
“This is driving a spike in every kind of crime in our state,” he said.