Opioids: Prevention

Steps everyone can take to prevent the misuse and abuse of opioids.

Community Actions

Make opioids less attractive

Share resources and information. Place articles and letters to editors in community newspapers, newsletters, and bulletins. Post flyers and posters in stores, pharmacies, hospitals, nursing homes, and other locations. Set up a booth at community events with information about opioids, including safeguards and drug take-back locations.

Make opioids less acceptable

Host a community forum. Bring together law enforcement, pharmacies, ambulance services, behavioral health programs, schools, hospitals, business owners, community members, and other stakeholders in the community's culture, perceptions, values, and norms.

Form a community coalition. Recruit members at a community forum. Join the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth.

Make opioids less available

Initiate/expand and promote community take-back locations. Encourage law enforcement and pharmacies to maintain drug take-back collection boxes. Encourage community members to use these sites to safely dispose of unwanted, unneeded medications.

Individual Actions

Make opioids less attractive

Learn and share the risks of using opioids, including ways to manage your pain that do not include opioids.

Make opioids less acceptable

Take opioids only if they have been prescribed to you, and only as instructed.

Make opioids less available

  • Store your opioids in a locked location out of reach of others.
  • Keep track of your opioids and monitor your remaining doses.
  • Dispose of your unused opioids promptly at a take-back location.

Young People at High Risk

Everyone has a role in protecting and promoting the health and safety of youth and young adults.

  • Provide support during times of emotional stress.
    • Pressures at school (big assignments, exams)
    • Trouble with friends
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
  • Share information with kids about the risks and dangers of opioids.
  • Encourage them to ask medical professionals for alternatives to opioids to manage pain.
  • Supply money only if you're certain where and how it will be spent.
Resources to Help Prevent Painkiller Abuse

The Department of Health Services has partnered with the Department of Justice on the Dose of Reality campaign to prevent prescription painkiller abuse in Wisconsin. This campaign includes resources for parents, educators, and coaches.

Helping Faith and Community Leaders Bring Hope and Healing to Our Communities

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services offers a toolkit to help faith and community leaders support opioid abuse prevention efforts. This toolkit was created by the HHS Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. There are six strategies.


Last Revised: March 16, 2018