MADISON — Two bills aimed at tackling opiate abuse are one step closer to becoming law.

The bills, introduced by Sen. Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette), passed unanimously on the floor of the Senate. Both of these bills, Special Session Assembly Bill 4 and Special Session Assembly Bill 11 are aimed at fighting opioid abuse and addiction in Wisconsin.

“Serious opiate addictions often begin with abuse of prescription drugs, so it makes sense to more tightly regulate the dispensing of these highly addictive medications,” Petrowski said. “Early identification and intervention are crucial and both of these measures will be helpful in our effort to address the opioid crisis in Wisconsin.”

One of the two bills requires a prescription for all Schedule V medications categorized as narcotic drugs containing nonnarcotic active medicinal ingredients, such as those containing the opioid codeine. The other bill that passed on Tuesday allocates an additional $200,000 annually to a program called Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) which provides school-aged kids with counseling to help guide them through difficult situations regarding drugs and/or alcohol.

Both bills passed in the Assembly with bipartisan support in April and are now headed to the governor’s desk.

Last fall, Governor Walker created the Task Force on Opioid Abuse, chaired by Representative Nygren and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, to advise and assist in the effort to address the opioid crisis in Wisconsin. These two bills are part of a package of bills introduced as a result of recommendations made by the task force.