Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel served up a DOSE OF REALITY today to alert Wisconsinites to the dangers of misusing opioid pain medications – an abuse that now exceeds deaths involving heroin and cocaine combined. DOSE OF REALITY – Prevent Prescription Painkiller Abuse in Wisconsin, is a statewide marketing campaign designed to raise awareness of this issue and to encourage the community to take action.

“There is so much information to share – and misinformation to clear up – surrounding this issue, which I discovered as I traveled the state over the past year talking about the heroin epidemic,” Schimel said. “This is a message of hope and prevention. We can win this battle and make our state safer and healthier.”

“Overdoses of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone, accounted for 45% of the 843 drug overdose deaths in Wisconsin in 2013,” said Kitty Rhoades, Secretary of the Department of Health Services. “This is truly a public health crisis, and one that can be eliminated through sharing information about the risks involved in misusing these medications.”

This campaign is not designed to vilify prescription painkillers nor those who prescribe them, but to raise awareness that when used or stored improperly, they can be dangerous or even deadly. Prescription painkillers can be beneficial when properly prescribed by a licensed medical or dental professional, properly used as directed, stored securely and disposed of properly. DOJ will be working over the next 30 days to promote the DOJ Drug Take Back Day on October 17, 2015. The DOSE OF REALITY website, has an interactive map so people can find a drug take back location near them.

Additionally, the website offers information, resources and a unique online ordering portal that will make the DOSE OF REALITY campaign assets available at no charge to DOJ’s partners to access, customize and use in their own communities and audiences as they see fit. Many of these materials are available today, and more will be added to the portal in the next several weeks.

DOJ will be airing TV and radio spots, using social media, and advertising in other venues to accomplish the following goals:

  • Inform and educate Wisconsinites about the improper use of prescription painkillers
  • Warn about the dangers of inadequate storage and disposal of prescription painkillers
  • Inform each audience as to the role they play in education and abuse prevention, from medical providers and parents to high school students and young adults
  • Encourage positive action

AG Schimel said in his video introduction to the DOSE OF REALITY campaign on the website, “We must address the problem of prescription painkiller abuse before it buries us – literally.”