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Heroin bills approved in assembly

MADISON, Wis (WSAU-Wheeler News)   The Wisconsin Assembly has unanimously approved four bills aimed at curbing the growth in heroin abuse and overdoses. The package was sent to the Senate yesterday.

Assembly Republican John Nygren of Marinette proposed the measures last year, as part of Attorney General J-B Van Hollen's campaign to curb heroin trafficking and overdose deaths. Nygren's teenage daughter almost died from the drug. Other lawmakers told stories about young heroin abusers in their own districts, and growing concerns by local law enforcement. Westby Republican Lee Nerison said quote, "We can't give up on our kids, no matter how bad the case is." Nygren's four bills would allow trained emergency responders to administer Narcan to ward off overdoses -- grant limited immunity for those who report overdoses cases to rescuers -- expand community drug disposal programs -- and require I-D's for those buying prescription narcotics.

Nygren calls the package a good first start, and he promises other legislation in the future.

Also yesterday, both houses approved new one-year contracts for five smaller state employee unions that cover about 24-hundred workers. If Governor Scott Walker signs the deals, the workers will get one-percent raises retroactive to July first.

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