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Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel reports progress on limiting access to opioids, says suing drug makers not as effective

Milwaukee (CBS 58)-In a live interview seen on the CBS 58 News at 4 Monday, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is reporting positive action in fighting the opioid crisis which is claiming lives in record numbers.

Schimel acknowledged that the drugs on the streets are more potent than ever before, but says Wisconsin has been highly successful at limiting access and reducing the amount of pain killers that wind up on the streets.

Schimel's "Dose of Reality" campaign took a course of action based on the fact that 80% of heroin addicts reported pain killers as their gateway drug.

Schimel was clear that if they were able to reduce access to the gateway, they could reduce levels of addiction and overdose.

"For three years, we've been in the top three for the amount of unused medications we take back. More than 300,000 pounds worth."

Schimel also says the campaign has been successful in reaching the medical community.

"We saw from 2015 to 2016, a 10% drop is prescribing of opioids. No law did that. Awareness did."

While other individual counties have resorted to suing the makers of pain killers, accusing them of of deceptive marketing.

Schimel says Wisconsin joining a 41 state coaltion that is investigating companies will be far more effective in a quick time frame.

"As Attorneys General, we can do what other lawyers can't."

Through something called "investigatory demands," Schimel believes answers are easier to come by because the coalition has broader discovery powers.

"We'd expect that litigation, if something goes to trial, takes 8 to 10 years. Chicago sued in 2014 and in 2018 they've made virtually no progress. This is the better way to do it. You can always file a lawsuit. But what we're doing is actually making progress to a solution."

To learn more about the Wisconsin Department of Justice's Elder Abuse Hotline and Task Force click here

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