Gov. Scott Walker today requested a special session of the Legislature to pass several bills addressing opioid abuse, calling the issue a “public health crisis.”

The announcement follows today’s release of a report from the co-chairs of the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse, recommending action from both the Legislature and state agencies.

Walker signed one executive order directing the state’s Department of Health Services to apply for federal funds under a law that President Obama signed last month.

Another executive order also directs state agencies to “take further action” on the issue following the recommendations of the report, authored by Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette.

The report, for example, recommended:

*promoting opioid awareness among state employees, who would learn more about resources for themselves or people they know;

*training for Department of Corrections staff who work with inmates who have had or may have issues with addiction, as well as revamping screening from DOC to ensure inmates who struggle with those issues get appropriate programming;

*and a survey from the Office of Commissioner of Insurance aimed at figuring out what sorts of coverage private insurance companies offer for opioid addiction treatment. The agency would then develop a consumer’s guide for coverage of such services.

The special session, which begins today, asks the Legislature to consider bills that would, among other things, let the UW System charter a recovery school, give limited immunity from criminal prosecution to people who overdose and let school nurses administer a drug that fights overdoses if a case pops up during school.

Walker’s also calling for further funding in the next biennium to the rural hospital graduate medical training program, grants for new treatment centers and a consultation service so that medical professionals can get help from addiction medicine specialists.

See the release

This post has been updated to clarify the report was authored by the co-chairs of the task force.

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