DIGGING DEEPER: Parents could opt-in to school drug testing for - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

DIGGING DEEPER: Parents could opt-in to school drug testing for their kids under new proposal

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Health and law enforcement experts say every parent should be wary of heroin and prescription opioid addiction. 

The numbers show why.

In 2015 - the most recent year numbers are available for - heroin accounted for 287 deaths in Wisconsin, while prescription and synthetic opiates caused another 361 deaths.

Nationwide, the number of heroin deaths for people aged 15 to 24 went up by 15 percent from 2014 to 2015 - while prescription and synthetic opioid deaths shot up 92 percent.

That data is a big reason why one state lawmaker wants to give parents another tool to find out whether their child is using those drugs.

 Few know the dangers better than Paul Raddatz. His daughter Ali was a normal teen with a bright future.

"She was very direct and driven and knew what she wanted out of life," said Raddatz.

Beyond that, Paul said Ali had good friends who he knew and trusted.

"We didn't have to worry about her," said Raddatz.

But at the start of her second semester of college at UW-Milwaukee, Ali's bright future went dark.

Drinking with friends in her dorm room on a Friday night, Ali eventually wound up at a house party.

"One of the girls that she had been friends with prior to her going to UWM was at the party...and offered her a half of oxycodone," said Raddatz.

Paul said his daughter passed out on a couch at the party around 11:00 p.m. and her friends decided to let her sleep.

"The next morning she had to be up and off to work around 9:30, and so around 8:30 they tried to roust her and she was unresponsive," said Raddatz. "Her heart had stopped."

"When I talk to Paul and I look into his face and see the pain on his face, and the years he's aged over the past couple years, I see a person who is hurting," said State Representative Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc).

Ali's story is another reason Rep. Kleefisch is drafting legislation that would let parents learn of their child's opioid use long before Paul Raddatz did. 

"We're gonna give parents the opportunity to choose, to say - 'I'm ok with my child being tested," said Rep Kleefisch.

He is writing a bill that would allow parents to opt-in to drug testing for their children at schools across Wisconsin.

"In most scenarios, parents are saying - 'hey, I don't think my kid's using, I don't think my kid's abusing, test them. Put them on the list. I'm giving you permission to do it,'" said Rep. Kleefisch. 

Paul Raddatz told 27 News he doesn't think his daughter used opioids in high school, but doesn't know for sure. 

He wishes he would have known, or that the parents of the girl who gave Ali the Oxycodone might have been able to find out how early she started using as well. 

"These kids go down the path and somebody tries something and it's like - 'well, if this was a trusted friend, I guess it wouldn't hurt if I tried it,'" said Raddatz.

But with opioids, it rarely ends with trying it just once.

"Pills are very easy to conceal," said Raddatz. "They're much more accessible to these kids and parents want to know - 'how can I find out if my kid's doing something? How do I protect my child?'"

Rep. Kleefisch said his goal is to make sure such testing wouldn't be invasive.

"There's no need for a urine sample anymore," explained Kleefisch. "The hair samples are just as effective and cost less money in many cases. We've had companies contact us - about 30 dollars per test. "

Kleefisch admits he's uncertain who would pick up that cost and how expensive such a program would be for an entire school year. 

But both men feel that should be a secondary concern.

"We are seeing the best and the brightest hooked and dying." said Rep. Kleefisch.

"The primary thing is look - what can we do for our kids right now that's going to help them make better choices and better outcomes," added Raddatz. "No parent should have to go through what I went through."

Rep. Kleefisch is still working on a draft of the bill, admitting to 27 News that "it isn't soup yet."

A spokesperson for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos did not respond to multiple requests for a statement on Kleefisch's proposal.

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