Jurisdiction: State of Wisconsin, population 5,822,434
In Wisconsin, the rate of opioid-related deaths increased by 45 percent over the past five years, with a rate of 15.8 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2019 compared with 10.9 in 2014. A total of 916 opioid-related deaths was recorded statewide in 2019, compared with 628 in 2016. In addition, as a measure of nonfatal overdoses, opioid-related emergency room admissions increased 71 percent over the same period, with approximately 2,549 recorded in 2019 for a rate of 43.9 per 100,000 persons. Across Wisconsin, 4.7 percent of adults are estimated to have misused prescription opioids in the past year, compared with 4.1 percent nationally.
Wisconsin’s Department of Justice (WI DOJ), in collaboration with DEA and local law enforcement agencies, has operated a successful Prescription Drug Take Back (DTB) program since 2015, in the process installing more than 485 permanent drug drop boxes in locations across the state. To date, the program has collected and safely disposed of more than 680,000 pounds of unused medications in Wisconsin. In addition, WI DOJ created a model law enforcement policy for drug drop boxes and a drug take-back protocol, which is provided to law enforcement agencies for each semiannual DTB event.
Expanding on the DTB program, the WI DOJ will purchase and distribute drug disposal products to at least ten Wisconsin counties and communities via overdose fatality review sites that are part of an existing project, with a focus on reducing access to prescription opioids in households that lack access to a drug take-back drop box, covering urban, suburban, and rural communities. The WI DOJ has worked with law enforcement, hospitals, pharmacies, and clinics to install permanent drug drop boxes throughout Wisconsin. At present, there are over 485 permanent drug drop boxes in locations across Wisconsin.