Governor Walker signs bills aimed at fighting heroin use

CREATED Apr 7, 2014 - UPDATED: Apr 7, 2014

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MADISON - Heroin related deaths rose 50 percent last year in Wisconsin.  Representative John Nygren proposed 7 bills to break that statistic, and help people like his daughter.  Governor Walker signed those bills into law.

You first met Representative Nygren's daughter, Cassie, back in November.  She is a heroin addict and has been in and out of jail on drug charges.

“I still remember the first day I tried it.  I was snowmobiling.  I felt like I was on top of the world,” said Cassie Nygren in November.

At that time she was serving time in the Marinette county jail.  She has since been transferred to the women's prison in Taycheedah, and will be released in June.

“I'm more than just a heroin junkie addict,” Cassie Nygren said.

Her dad is a little closer to his goal of helping those like Cassie get the help they need before it's too late.

“Not only for me as a legislator but for my family, and for Cassie.  She’s pretty proud that we’ve taken this effort on.  It gives her something positive to point to that she’s helping others avoid making the mistakes she’s made,” Rep. Nygren said.

Governor Walker signed the 7 bills, called the H.O.P.E legislation, which stands for heroin opiate prevention and education.

“This is one of those days that makes you proud to work in the capitol when people work together.  Realizing, there’s no one answer,” said Governor Walker.

The bills, now signed into law allow all emergency responders to administer narcan, a drug that counteracts heroin overdoses, another gives immunity to anyone calling 9-1-1 for someone who has overdosed.  The laws will provide more funding for treatment.

“Anything that I can point to that can save a life is something I’m going to be excited about,” Rep. Nygren said.