Wisconsin agencies launch ‘Real Talks’ campaign to prevent and reduce substance use

MADISON (WKBT) — With substance use rising across the state of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin DHS, DOJ and Gov. Tony Evers announced an effort to counteract that rise.

The initiative, called Real Talk Wisconsin, aims to reduce and prevent substance use through supportive relationships. “Real talks” are based on asking open-ended questions, having empathy, and helping problem solve.

The initial phase of Real Talks Wisconsin is a series of pages on the DHS website with facts about substance use in Wisconsin, conversation tips, and actions people and communities can take to be well. Future phases will include video guides and printed materials about how to have real talks.

“We can prevent and reduce substance use by being real with each other,” said DHS Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “It’s time to talk about substance use in an open, honest, and caring way. Real talks help create connection. That connection helps create spaces where hope, health, and healing are possible.”

DHS says this campaign builds on their Small Talks initiative on underage drinking, and the DOJ’s Dose of Reality concerning the dangers of opioids.

The agencies say this campaign does not focus on any one specific substance as substance use often involves a mix of drugs.

People struggling with substance use can contact the Wisconsin Addiction Recovery Helpline to be connected to treatment options. Call 211 or log on to addictionhelpwi.org