Opioids are a type of drug. They include strong prescription pain relievers. The illegal drug heroin is also an opioid. Anybody who takes opioids is at risk for addiction and overdose.

 PREVENTION: Protect the health and safety of yourself and your family

 OVERDOSE: Learn how to save lives

 TREATMENT: Find a provider in Wisconsin

 PROFESSIONALS: Access resources on effective prevention, treatment, and recovery practices

 DATA: View the latest Wisconsin reports and studies

A new way to get data on Wisconsin's opioid epidemic

Data Direct: Opioids provides information on adult opioid usage, youth opioid usage, opioid hospitalizations, and opioid-related deaths in dashboards that allow you to quickly gain a sense of changes, trends, and concerning behaviors. The data presented is the most-up-date data collected by us. Go to Data Direct: Opioids.

History of Wisconsin's opioid epidemic

Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic has evolved rapidly. There are three waves to this epidemic.

  • The first wave began in 1999. That’s when deaths involving opioids began to rise following an increase in the prescribing of opioids for the treatment of pain.
  • The second wave began in 2010. That’s when deaths involving heroin began to rise. More people began to use heroin around this time because it was cheaper and more accessible than prescription opioids.
  • The third wave began in 2014. That’s when deaths involving synthetic opioids like fentanyl began to rise. This increase has been linked to fentanyl illegally manufactured and mixed with other drugs like heroin.

#HopeActLiveWI: Responding to Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic

Responding to Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic is one of our top priorities. Through partnerships with state, tribal, county, and local agencies, our approach to this epidemic empowers communities to prevent misuse, expand access to quality treatment and recovery services, and reduce death and harm. Learn more about our response to Wisconsin's opioid epidemic.

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Last Revised: August 20, 2019