A report released this week shows more Iowans are using methamphetamine. Gary Kendell, director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, says the rise in meth use coincides with an uptick in meth labs, including more of the “one pot” and “shake and bake” type labs. Kendell is proposing state lawmakers create a Meth Offender Registry.
The measure would prohibit convicted meth offenders from purchasing any pseudoephedrine products used to make meth. Kendell says a handful of states have enacted such a ban. Iowa’s Drug Control Strategy, the annual report released this week, shows meth was the drug of choice cited by 8.8% of all treatment clients last year, up from 7.8% the prior year.
Kendell says the dangers and addictive power of meth have been well documented, so it’s difficult to understand why people continue to experiment with the drug. “You know, I think people…they don’t think it’s not going to happen to them,” Kendell explained. “They don’t realize they’re the ones who are going to be susceptible. It’s the age old story, with young people in particular, you don’t think the bad stuff’s going to happen to you.”
Iowa is also seeing a rise in meth-related prison admissions. Kendell says people who are addicted to meth have a hard time quitting on their own. “We have a fair amount of treatment available in our state, but it’s not enough. It would be nice to have more resources to provide more treatment,” Kendell said. “But, you also have to keep in mind that treatment’s only going to work if people want it to work and they want to give it an effort. If they’re not convinced that it’s time to change their life and make a positive change, it’s not going to be successful.”
The report shows alcohol remains the most abused substance in Iowa, while marijuana use is also on the rise. Kendell says the fastest growing form of substance abuse by Iowans involves prescription and over the counter medications.