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Wisconsin tribal leader calls for action on opioids

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The leader of the Forest County Potawatomi Community urged Wisconsin policy makers on Tuesday to work together to fight the scourge of opioid abuse, which he said was hitting the state’s tribal populations hard.

Forest County Potawatomi Chairman Ned Daniels Jr., used the annual State of the Tribes speech to call for a “sharp focus” on opioid abuse.

“Our children and grandchildren will remember and thank you for the things you do on this issue today,” he said in the speech given in the Assembly chamber. Gov. Tony Evers, members of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, state senators, Attorney General Josh Kaul, state Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and others joined with members of the Assembly for the address.

“There is no challenge more complex than that of the opioid epidemic,” he said. “It has no regard for age, race, gender or income. … Opioids are tearing apart our communities.”

Beyond saying more must be done to fight opioid abuse, Daniels called for action to protect natural resources, including water quality, and to combat sex trafficking and climate change.

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