11 Steps To Combat The Opioid Crisis
DHS announces #HopeActLiveWI campaign
State health officials say there’s hope that the death and disability from the misuse and abuse of opioids can be reduced through actions everyone can take to save lives.
Hope: Five steps to protect health and safety.
- Talk with a health care professional about other ways to manage pain
- Never take opioids in greater amounts or more often than prescribed
- Avoid taking opioids with other drugs, including alcohol
- Store opioids in a secure place and out of the reach of others
- Dispose of unused opioids at a medication drop box
Act: Four steps to limit the impact of addiction and overdoses on individuals, families, and communities.
- Learn the signs of misuse and abuse
- Recognize the signs of an overdose
- Call 911 immediately in the event of an overdose
- Learn how to use naloxone to respond to an overdose (PDF, 440 KB)
Live: Two steps to create a path toward wellness.
In a public health advisory (PDF, 44 KB) issued in September, State Health Officer Karen McKeown noted that opioid-related overdose deaths more than tripled in Wisconsin from 194 deaths in 2003 to 622 deaths in 2014. They are now the leading cause of injury deaths in Wisconsin. Prescription opioid pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone contributed to about one-half of the total drug overdose deaths, and heroin contributed to about one-third.
With the support of Governor Walker and the legislature, the Department of Health Services and its state and local partners are taking steps to address this epidemic, including the opening of three regional treatment programs serving high-need areas in northern Wisconsin and a standing order allowing naloxone to be dispensed without individual prescriptions. Federal grants are funding efforts to improve prescribing practices, expand prevention activities, and increase access to treatment.
In September, Governor Walker created the Governor’s Task Force on Opioid Abuse to further the work already underway on this issue. The next meeting of the task force is November 22 in Weston.