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 the misuse and abuse of alcohol and other drugs by encouraging all state residents to make healthy choices regarding the use of alcohol and drugs.

What is unhealthy use of alcohol and 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.

  • Misuse and abuse of alcohol 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.


Other Drugs

Prevention priorities

The economic and health costs of substance abuse in Wisconsin are significant, as are the related community-level costs of criminal offenses and arrests.  The mixed picture of progress of prevention efforts and continuing challenges cited in the Wisconsin Epidemiological Profile on Alcohol and Other Drug Use, 2016 (PDF, 6 MB), suggests an ongoing need for the Department of Health Services to address five issues. 

Affirm a healthy lifestyle

The Division of Care and Treatment Services coordinates the following substance use prevention programs to encourage all state residents to live healthy today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Alliance for Wisconsin Youth

The Alliance for Wisconsin Youth focuses on the prevention of substance use among youth and young adults and the promotion positive youth development.

Intoxicated Driver Program

Through assessments and treatment, the Intoxicated Driver Program helps individuals caught driving impaired to recognize the risks of driving while intoxicated.

Parents Who Host, Lose The Most

The annual Parents Who Host, Lose The Most campaign educates parents (and all adults) about the health, safety, and legal risks of serving alcohol at teen parties.

Peer Run Respites

Staffed by people who have lived experience in the mental health and substance use services system, these places in Appleton, Madison, and Menomonie provide support to individuals experiencing increased stress and/or symptoms related to mental health and substance use concerns.

Where to get help

Treatment for substance use concerns is effective and people can and do recover. 

  • Use this online search tool provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Use this application to locate a treatment provider in your area
  • Use this directory to find contact information for county and tribal agencies
Last Revised: February 3, 2017