Health care advocacy group demands more money for opioid prevention

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MADISON — A health care advocacy group wants Gov. Scott Walker and Republican lawmakers to devote more money into a program to screen high school students for drug abuse.

Walker has called a special legislative session to pass 11 bills to curb opioid abuse. One would allocate $200,000 more to the Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment program. The program screens students for substance abuse through conversations and refers them to treatment. It’s currently in place in six school districts.

Citizen Action of Wisconsin Executive Director Robert Kraig and Democratic state Sen. LaTonya Johnson told reporters Thursday, January 12th that $200,000 isn’t enough. They say opioid abuse is so widespread Walker should expand the program to test every Wisconsin freshman. That would cost about $1.8 million.

A Walker spokesman didn’t respond to a message.

1 Comment

  • Julie Whelan Capell

    Actually, the governor’s budget does not allocate any dollars to the SBIRT program that is currently in place in six Wisconsin school districts. The budget does propose to allocate $100,000 to a DPI program that trains school district personnel to do SBIRT. Unfortunately, experience has shown that providing training to school district personnel does not ensure that students will actually be screened. Wisconsin needs to fund programming that will help districts actually implement proven effective prevention programs like SBIRT. In the long run, prevention will save our state more money than it costs.

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