Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Chatham prosecutes drug crimes, including dozens of heroin cases, the numbers of which have grown as users move from prescription meds to heroin.
Chatham says the heroin on Iowa’s streets is getting more and more potent. Chatham says, “We had a DEA resident agent-in-charge who came from down close to the border who was shocked when he started seeing us having 30% pure heroin in Iowa.” Speaking before the state’s Drug Policy Advisory Council in Des Moines on Thursday, Chatham says an especially powerful variant of heroin known as fentanyl started showing up in Cedar Rapids earlier this year.
“During that same time period, there were over 40 overdose-related calls for service, just in the first three months of 2015, just in this year,” Chatham says. “That’s an incredible number.” Chatham says dealers are meeting growing demand with the purer product.
The Cedar Rapids Police Department has created a new position of heroin coordinator. A Des Moines police officer says heroin cases used to be rare and now they happen weekly. Chatham says bed space for critical detox is scarce and he adds, there’s a waiting list for a heroin opiate summit at the University of Iowa College of Public Health next month.
Thanks to Joyce Russell, Iowa Public Radio