Substance Use: Prevention and Healthy Living

The inappropriate use of alcohol and other drugs can have a powerful effect on the health of individuals, their families, and their communities. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is committed to preventing this misuse and abuse.

What is unhealthy use of alcohol and other drugs?

The misuse and abuse of alcohol and other drugs can impede judgment and lead to traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, poor educational performance, overdose, and other problem behaviors.

  • Alcohol misuse and abuse includes underage drinking, binge drinking, drinking while pregnant, and driving after drinking.
  • Drug misuse and abuse includes the use of prescription and over-the-counter medication contrary to directions or without a medical purpose and any use of illegal drugs.

Substance use always comes with the risk that it might lead to addiction. Learn more about substance use disorders.

Be safe this holiday season

Toasting the New Year with two glasses of champagneIf you’re 21 or older and choose to drink alcohol this holiday season, consider these safety tips.

  • Eat something before drinking
  • Space drinks at least one hour apart
  • Try alternating alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to cut down on the amount of alcohol consumed
  • Appoint a designated driver before drinking or make a plan on how to get home safely without driving
  • Use alcohol carefully in connection with other drugs, including over-the-counter and prescription medications

Resources from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism



Other Drugs

Prevention priorities

Substance use prevention staff at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services focus on five areas. 

New report: The Burden of Binge Drinking in Wisconsin

Binge drinking in Wisconsin costs almost $4 billion a year, which is approximately $700 per Wisconsin resident. Over two-thirds of the economic cost of binge drinking is in lost productivity. These results show a staggering economic impact to the state. The negative health and social consequences of binge drinking are far-reaching and come at a great economic cost.

The Burden of Binge Drinking in Wisconsin report highlights Wisconsin state and county-level costs associated with binge drinking, a sub-category of excessive alcohol consumption. Binge drinking is responsible for the majority of the excessive alcohol consumption costs in Wisconsin and is a critical public health concern. County-level profiles are included in this report to provide estimates of the economic cost of binge drinking and other available county-level indicators to help facilitate discussion at the local level. Changes in policy and the use of evidence-based prevention strategies can reduce the negative health, social, and economic impacts of binge drinking.

This report was written by the UW Population Health Institute. It was commissioned by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline

Treatment for substance use concerns is effective and people can and do recover. Call 211 or 833-944-4673 to learn about local treatment services for an addiction to alcohol or other drugs. Pregnant women are given priority in treatment admissions. Call 911 in a life threatening emergency

Last Revised: December 2, 2019