Opioids: Prevention

We are committed to protecting and promoting the health and safety of all Wisconsin residents.

Got unused medications? Get rid of them.

Unused medications do more than clutter your medicine cabinet, they can be dangerous and lead to accidental poisoning, overdose, and abuse. Thrown in the trash, unused medications can be retrieved and illegally sold. Flushed down the drain, they can contaminate the water supply. Collection sites for unused medications are located throughout the state. Find a collection site near you.

Steps to prevent opioid misuse and abuse

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.


Information for community leaders on how to prevent opioid misuse and abuse

Related information
Last Revised: April 26, 2021