Opioid Crisis and Drug Addiction

Drugs are killing our kids and communities throughout Wisconsin, and some of those drugs are legally prescribed by doctors. According to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 63,600 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016, 21% higher than in 2015. No matter the statistics reviews, addiction is skyrocketing, more Wisconsinites are dying, and families are left in shambles.

For decades, tobacco companies argued cigarettes didn’t cause cancer. Then, of course, we learned they did.

In the 1990’s, drug companies claimed opioids were a compassionate way to treat pain and began aggressively marketing them, claiming opioids were safe, non-addictive, and had few side effects. Doctors listened and began prescribing accordingly. The impact is self-evident. The price tag has been the destruction of Wisconsin families with loved ones turned addicts and the almost immeasurable direct and indirect costs sustained by Wisconsin taxpayers burdened with the cost of law enforcement activities, criminal justice, incarceration, drug treatment and rehabilitation programs, etc.

Wisconsin is experiencing the devastating effects of drug addiction in every inch of our state. Andy Gronik’s answer to this crisis is to rethink everything and leave nothing off the table to attack this crisis at the heart and kill it.

As governor, Andy will:

  • Lead the country in taking action against drug companies on behalf of the taxpayers of Wisconsin;
  • Seek full recovery of all direct and indirect damages sustained as a result of the reckless distribution of opioids for pain treatment by drug companies;
  • Promote stricter laws regulating the prescription and disbursement of opioids;
  • Champion public-private partnerships to develop new dosing systems that regulate the release of prescribed medication at the prescribed time;
  • Support the full legalization of marijuana pending a successful ballot referendum in Wisconsin;
  • Use a portion of the proceeds generated by taxing marijuana to fund programs to choke off the manufacture and distribution of illegal drugs in Wisconsin;
  • Support funding a complete upgrade and integration of data platforms used by local and state law enforcement agencies to increase the effectiveness of every aspect of crime prevention including detecting crimes, capturing criminals, and judging actual best practices for rehabilitation to reduce recidivism;
  • Seek changes to the system of confidential tips and make the identity of tipsters completely inaccessible so citizens can report concerns about drug-related crimes confidentially. This is not always the case right now and results in many crimes going unreported;
  • Expand drug prevention programs and create private-public partnerships to innovate 21st-century tools to connect with parents and kids to promote healthy and drug-free lives;
  • Seek to develop joint programs between our public schools and local law enforcement to appropriately build real-life awareness of the tragic effects of drug use and addiction;
  • Expand resources to drug rehabilitation programs based on proven best-practice patient outcomes and proactively explore even the most controversial methods to help addicts find treatment including professionally supervised drug consumption rooms.