Halfway through his first term in office, Wisconsin’s top cop says he’s proud of the progress made so far in the state’s fight against prescription drug abuse.
In an interview with WRN, Attorney General Brad Schimel said efforts to raise public awareness about opiate abuse are paying off, as shown by the turnout at prescription drug collection events held since he took office. During the four collection events, the state has collected more than 207,000 pounds of unused medications, putting it just behind California and Texas for the amount of drugs taken in for disposal.
“That tells me that every household in Wisconsin, or at least the majority…are getting it,” Schimel said. “They understand this message we’re delivering that 70 percent of the time when people begin abusing opiates, they didn’t get them from a doctor or a traditional drug dealer…they got them from a family member or a friend.”
Schimel credits the state’s “Dose of Reality” campaign for helping to raise public awareness. The campaign, through a strong online presence and advertising, has worked to spread the message about the dangers of opiate abuse, and how prescription drugs can be a gateway to heroin. About 80 percent of heroin abusers moved to the drug after becoming addicted to prescription painkillers.
Schimel said the issue is something he plans to continue to focus on over the next two years, as he prepares to seek reelection.