Sen. Baldwin visits Milwaukee for roundtable discussion on opioid, fentanyl crisis

NOW: Sen. Baldwin visits Milwaukee for roundtable discussion on opioid, fentanyl crisis

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin has been a longtime advocate in the fight against the opioid epidemic, which is why she made a pit stop in Milwaukee Friday to discuss ongoing efforts to combat the nationwide crisis.

"Actually, the first time I ever heard the word 'fentanyl' was after my mother was describing the patches she would put on her back for lower back pain," Sen. Baldwin told CBS 58 News.

In a roundtable discussion Friday morning at Meta House, Baldwin said the opioid crisis affects everyone -- her mother even struggled with chronic pain and mental health issues.

"This is a chronic and lifelong disease," she added.

A group of local experts and health officials addressed ongoing concerns for Sen. Baldwin to take with her back to Washington D.C. in hopes of changing some legislation.

Talks surrounded funding and the wording being too specific: addressing opioid-related issues, instead of addiction as a whole, in order to have the flexibility to provide services for someone who may have multiple substance-use challenges. They also addressed the need to make sure underrepresented communities also get adequate resources they need to better themselves. A model focusing on family-centered treatment was also mentioned -- the importance of health insurances covering that.

"Whether that's looking at the supply chain and how this actually gets into our state and into our communities trying to fight against that, but also all the way to providing treatment that is effective," said Sen. Baldwin

Personal testimonies were also shared.

"If it wasn't for Meta House, Senator Baldwin, I would not be sitting here," said Camille Davis.

Davis is an addiction survivor. She said she lost three decades of her life to drugs and alcohol. In August, she will celebrate two years of being clean.

"This is my memoir, it's my testimony," she told CBS 58 News, pointing at a book. "It's called 'Time Wasted.' It talks about my struggles, my behavior during my drug use, the murder of my sister and the death of my other sister, witnessing my mother's last breath...this is the first time I can say that I've ever been proud of myself."

Sen. Baldwin said she will take the personal stories and anecdotes shared Friday with her back to Washington D.C.

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