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ICYMI: Baldwin Hosts Meeting with Western Wisconsin Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leaders on Fentanyl Epidemic

LA CROSSE, WI – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) hosted a meeting with Western Wisconsin law enforcement, first responders, and community leaders to discuss efforts to address the fentanyl and opioid epidemic. During the meeting, Senator Baldwin heard from local leaders about the impacts of fentanyl and discussed her work to crack down on Chinese chemical suppliers, invest in border security and technology, and support local communities in their prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts. 

“Today in La Crosse, I was able to meet with law enforcement and public safety leaders who are at the forefront of fighting the fentanyl crisis in Western Wisconsin,” said Senator Baldwin. “This crisis knows no bounds, impacting communities of all sizes, from rural to urban, across Wisconsin. I’m proud to support our law enforcement and first responders in this fight, and our discussion today provided an opportunity make sure they have the tools and resources they need to save lives.”

Senator Baldwin was joined by City of La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds, Chief of Police Shawn Kudron, Fire Chief Jeff Schott, and Community Risk Educator Molly McCormick, La Crosse County Sheriff John Siegel, Gundersen Health Regional EMS Director Dr. Christopher Eberlein, Town of Campbell Fire Captain Beth Lubinski, City of Onalaska Administrator Rick Niemeier, City of Hillsboro Administrator Josh Finch, City of Hillsboro Chief of Police Patrick Clark, and Village of Ontario Chief of Police Dave Rynes.

Since 2019, fentanyl overdoses have been the leading cause of death for Americans aged 18-45, and in 2022, Wisconsin experienced over 1,400 opioid-related deaths. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin crafted and voted for legislation to provide needed investments to help secure our border, combat the flow of fentanyl, and deliver resources to Wisconsin communities to help address the opioid epidemic. Senator Baldwin is also working to pass the FEND Off Fentanyl Act to crack down on the chemical suppliers in China and cartels in Mexico to disrupt the fentanyl supply chain and is fighting to close a trade loophole that is allowing China and other countries to bring illicit drugs like fentanyl into the country. Baldwin voted for, and is continuing to advocate for the passage of, a bipartisan package to invest in screening technology and border patrol agents to stop fentanyl from coming across the Southwest border.

Earlier this month, Senator Baldwin convened a roundtable discussion with Southeastern Wisconsin law enforcement and public safety leaders on the fentanyl and opioid crisis. To support law enforcement and first responders, Senator Baldwin is leading the Safe Response Act to train first responders on how to use life-saving overdose reversal drugs, like naloxone. Senator Baldwin’s Safe Response Act has garnered strong support from local, state, and national law enforcement leaders, including from attendees at the Western and Southeastern Wisconsin convenings.