By Kate Raddatz

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said the opioid epidemic in Minnesota and the country is serious.

“It’s one that has touched all of us. These are our children dying. These are our neighbors dying,” Walz said.

The governor promised throughout his campaign that he would address the issue.

On Tuesday he did by talking with representatives of the opioid industry via phone from both local and national companies.

“Engaging meaningful conversations of everyone involved in this whether it’s victims to physicians to that entire supply chain to the distributors to the manufacturers of these opioids,” Walz said.

Gov. Walz said he was frustrated during the last legislative session because there was talk, but no movement to address the epidemic. He wants to not only create stricter guidelines to reduce unnecessary prescriptions being filled, but also address price increases for people who need the medication.

“We have to take responsibility as a state and an industry to make that happen,” Walz said.

Walz says he got the impression that pharmaceutical companies understand that change needs to happen.

“I’m looking at them as major players to help, and it was clear on the phone that they share that ethical compassion,” Walz said.

Walz said he expects to have a piece of legislation end up on his desk to address the opioid crisis. He said he came away from his conversations today “hopeful.”

Kate Raddatz