Opiate painkillers have been ravaging states across America. One state that is starting a new program to fight against their prescription painkiller epidemic is Wisconsin. According to state leaders, prescription painkiller abuse is on the rise and overdoses from these medications kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined. Astonishing to many who do not have the education on these dangerous medications and the state is looking to provide much more information for all of its citizens.
The Wisconsin Attorney General, Brad Schimel, calls the whole situation a public health crisis. He is the leader of the new campaign to educate and spread the statistics about the growing epidemic. If something isn’t done soon, this will be taking more and more lives. The imprint left by this epidemic can alter generations.
The new campaign is called a “Dose of Reality.” It is a series of advertisements that will reach all forms of media in order to catch as many eyes and ears as possible. It will display the facts and numbers about the prescription painkiller epidemic and also show how many addicts gain access and abuse these dangerous medications. “This is something that needs to reach everyone,” says Schimel, who is touring parts of the state today promoting the new educational campaign.
Some of the statistics that are directly affecting the state of Wisconsin are that in 2013, 843 people died overdosing on drugs in the state. In Brown County, since 2010, 124 people have died from drug overdoses and that is only one county. Of those 124 people who passed away, roughly 90 of them had some kind of opiate in their system.
Rep. John Nygren, was alongside Schimel’s side promoting the new campaign. Nygren is no stranger to the effects of opiate addiction. He has been directly affected by the epidemic when his daughter’s addiction to heroin became public. Nygren is not hiding his daughter’s problem with heroin. He is using his experience to educate and help other families. “I don’t know that I could go to church, or to work, or out to dinner and have a conversation without finding somebody who was at least affected – either be a loved one or somebody they work with,” he says.
The campaign is sure to open a lot of eyes to the dangers of prescription abuse and addiction. The problem effects people of all social backgrounds, races, ages and genders. Many are happy that the problem is getting so much attention and they have high hopes that the campaign will bring to light a problem that does not get as much attention. Funding for programs for people without the means to receive treatment needs to be talked about. It is great to educate the public but if people who need and want help have nowhere to go, there is not much hope for their success. Hopefully politicians will look into funding better and larger programs so those suffering can receive the treatment they desperately need.