Let's Talk About Pain Medicines

America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic and Wisconsin is no exception. In 2017, 883 people died in our state alone from opioid overdoses. That is more than the number of people killed in car crashes. Prescription pain medicines can be just as addictive as heroin and the epidemic is affecting people of all races, ages and gender. Most kids who use heroin started using opioid medicines they found at home.   

Wisconsin Health Literacy (WHL) seeks to be part of the solution. WHL developed a project called, “Let’s Talk About Pain Medicines” which involves a one-hour interactive workshop to help adults throughout Wisconsin learn how to more safely and effectively use prescription pain medicines.  

WHL is partnering with community organizations across the state to deliver workshops on the following topics:  

  • The differences between prescription opioids and other pain medicines
  • Safe storage of opioid pain medicine to help prevent others from finding and using them 
  • What to do with unused opioid pain medicines (i.e.: where and how to get rid of them when no longer needed so they are out of the home)  
  • Understanding of label directions (when and how long to take the medicine)
  • Special instructions on warning labels
  • Illegality of using others’ medications
  • When to call the pharmacist or provider

Each participant will receive an easy-to-understand lesson booklet, provided in English and Spanish. In addition, 4 multilingual printable fact sheets are also available for participants and will be widely distributed on the following topics:

  • How are prescription opioids and other pain medicines different?
  • What can go wrong when you use opioid medicine?
  • Don’t let people take your opioid medicine
  • Get rid of unused medicines

If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact us at For downloadable copies of the fact sheets, please click here.  

The project is supported with generous funding from Security Health Plan, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Minority Health Program and Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation.