Shelly Elkington knows all about perseverance.

Shelly Elkington knows all about perseverance. For the past three years, the Montevideo woman has been at the forefront of the statewide push for legislation addressing the opioid crisis. At 11 p.m. on Monday evening, her perseverance, along with the perseverance of many others, finally paid off when the Minnesota Senate passed legislation addressing the opioid crisis.

Elkington received a call at 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon informing her that the bill she fought so hard for was headed to the Senate floor. “I called Tim and told him I was leaving that moment, and he said ‘OK, see you later,’ and I was off,” said Elkington.

The bill, which was approved by the Senate on a vote of 60-3, will increase fees on drug manufacturers to help pay for the costs associated with the national opioid epidemic.

Elkington became an advocate for addressing the opioid epidemic in August of 2015, when her daughter Casey Jo Schulte died as a result of an opioid overdose. “I became involved right after she died,” said Elkington. “I became very active in advocacy work and was shocked at the lack of resources and the lack of awareness, even in our own community.”

Elkington found out early on that the lack of awareness about the opioid epidemic was a huge problem, as was the stigma associated with opioid addiction. “People didn’t want to talk about it.

We spent a lot of time working on that because we had to educate our lawmakers at the same time as we were advocating for change,” she said.

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