March 21, 2018
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

#HopeActLiveWI: State and Federal Support Are Critical for Fighting the Opioid Crisis

Below are the remarks delivered today by Paul Krupski, director of Opioid Initiatives at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), at a roundtable discussion on fighting the opioids epidemic. The roundtable discussion was also attended by U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Secretary Eric D. Hargan and Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

Thank you for being here today.

First I would like to thank Governor Walker for prioritizing the opioid crisis in Wisconsin, calling for all hands on deck to combat this issue, and directing DHS to do what is reasonable and necessary to prevent and suppress opioid abuse.

Governor Walker also created the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse which is co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Representative John Nygren. I would like to thank them for their leadership around this issue—helping  to create a coordinated effort to combat the opioid crisis in our state. The task force has heard from state agencies, stakeholders, and partners from around the state and has invested time and energy into improving and solving the opioid crisis affecting our state. With Lt. Governor Kleefisch’s and Rep. Nygren’s leadership, the task force has submitted lists of recommendations to the governor that have been executed through Governor Walker’s executive orders and Rep. Nygren’s HOPE legislation.

Lastly, but definitely not least, I’d like to thank our federal partners at HHS, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their support in our efforts is vital. Funding that is made available to states like Wisconsin allows us to support projects, programs, and strategies statewide that are focused on prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts around opioids.

Through the State Target Response Grant, DHS allocated $3.1 million and funded 16 counties and five tribes in high-need areas around the state for the purpose of decreasing waitlist or other unmet treatment needs for individuals seeking treatment for opioid use disorder. Waukesha County, being one of the counties funded, had the ability to immediately turn this into action.

Expanding access to treatment services statewide is a priority for DHS. We are using additional federal funding to continue the expansion of our HOPE treatment centers in high-need areas of our state, as well as expand access to medication-assisted treatment in our communities.

To stay informed on all of our efforts at DHS, please visit our Opioids webpage at and follow us on social media at #HopeActLiveWI. To us, it’s more than a hashtag, it’s an approach to controlling the opioid epidemic and with all of us working together, we can Hope…Act…and Live.