Marijuana and methamphetamine are the two most abused illicit drugs in Iowa, according to a new report released today. Gary Kendell is Director of the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy, which compiles the annual report for the legislature. He says 23% of the adults in Iowa seeking substance abuse treatment cite marijuana as their primary problem. The percentage is even higher for teens.
“Marijuana continues to be a sufficient problem here in the state,” Kendell told Radio Iowa. “In the neighborhood of 55-% of the juveniles that are in drug treatment in our state are there because of marijuana as the primary drug of abuse.” Alcohol accounts for about 61% of all the clients in treatment centers, while 8% of those in treatment list meth as their primary drug.
Prescription medication abuse remains the fastest growing form of substance abuse in Iowa. Investigations of pharmaceutical cases by the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement increased by 243% last year. Kendell is asking lawmakers to consider expanding the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, which currently involves pharmacies reporting their sales on a voluntary basis.
“We’d like to see that turned into a mandatory program,” Kendell said. “If you don’t have everybody using it, it’s not going to be as successful.” In addition, Kendell would like to give law enforcement better access to the program’s database.
He says it would allow cops to track down “doctor shoppers,” who hit up several doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions for narcotics. “We know that information is contained in the database, but the way the law is written, it doesn’t always readily allow access to law enforcement,” Kendell said.
The full report is available online at www.iowa.gov/odcp.