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.