AmbulanceThe state’s top medical officer has issued a “standing order” to pharmacies, so qualified people can get a drug that stabilizes people who overdose on “opioids” like Oxycontin or heroin.

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says the drug “Naloxone” doesn’t “cure” the overdose, but it reduces the impact an opioid overdose has on the respiratory system, giving more time to get the victim to a hospital.

“First responders along with family members and friends to someone at risk for an opioid overdose are all encouraged to become aware of Naloxone, gain access to it and learn how it is administered,” Reynolds says.

Iowa is now one of more than 30 states with a law that lets people who respond to emergencies or who are close to an addict get Naloxone.

“Recognizing and responding to an opioid overdose can mean the difference between life and death,” Reynolds says.

In Iowa over the past decade, there’s been a 230 percent increase in emergency room visits from patients who’ve overdosed on an opioid.