By Pat Kessler


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — More people die from prescription painkillers than they do from heroin. The problem is getting so big, so fast that Minnesota and Wisconsin are now fighting it together.

The attorneys general of both states announced Monday a major public campaign called “Dose of Reality.”

“The opioid epidemic is one that knows no boundaries — no geographic boundaries, no demographic boundaries,” Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said at a news conference. “It can affect everybody from all walks of life.”

The goal of Dose of Reality is to raise awareness about prescription painkillers, including where abusers might get them, particularly from unwitting family members.

“None of us would leave a loaded handgun sitting on a counter of our home with teenagers coming in and out of the house,” said Brad Schimel, the attorney general of Wisconsin. “But how many people think about what’s in the medicine cabinet?”

The Dose of Reality interactive website shows where to dispose of unused medication.

The campaign also includes a tough, blunt television ad featuring a mother who finds her son unresponsive with an open pill bottle nearby.

That’s what happened to two of the Minnesota lawmakers who are backing the public awareness campaign. They’re planning new steps to track what they’re calling a public health crisis.

“We are done!” said Rep. Dave Baker, a Republican from Willmar. “I hate seeing any more families like ours suffer.”

The Dose of Reality campaign is new to Minnesota. Wisconsin and Minnesota will coordinate efforts in the two states.

Pat Kessler

Comments (4)
  1. Anne Tobisch says:

    Thank you for the work concerning this issue. I’m a diabetic and have a question…where do I dispose of my used needles? I won’t throw them in the trash, but I can’t afford to pay companies to take them.

    1. Amanda Korbe says:

      Hey Anne,
      One thing you can do is put all used needles into your empty pill bottles and seal them, then you can usually take them to a hospital or fire station and they will properly dispose of them for you. I have heard some pharmacies will dispose of them for you if you have them in pill bottles but I would check with them first. You should be able to call around and ask. Explain your situation. Wishing you luck sister!!

  2. Amanda Korbe says:

    What about protecting chronic pain patients that have a right to proper medical treatment for their medical conditions. AND SOMETIMES THOSE CONDITIONS REQUIRE OPIATES! Painting us all as addicts is just as lethal! It causes doctors to stop prescribing them resulting in huge spikes in suicides due to uncontrolled pain. OUR GOVERNMENT OWES US A TREATMENT FOR ADDICTION THAT DOES NOT JEOPARDIZE THE CARE AND TREATMENT OF CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS!! We are #PatientsNotAddicts and we have rights too!!

    1. I agree with you Amanda Korbel, yes there is a problem with opiates and addiction but it has effected many chronic pain patients! Living with uncontrolled pain is becoming more of a problem also and that will increase suicide rates, they need to also protect the patients that need opiates to have some kind of quality of life. I also think that the statistics that are often thrown out there are not correct. There is a small percentage of people that are prescribed opiates that end up having a addiction, it’s the people that are using opiates for recreational purposes. I would like the statics to be done correctly because it will show better the correct epidemic.