Governor Kim Reynolds.

Governor Kim Reynolds will be in Dubuque this afternoon to sign legislation that seeks to address opioid addiction and reduce the number of overdose deaths in the state. Reynolds mentioned the bill in a video statement posted on Facebook.

“This 2018 legilsative session is one of accomplishments,” Reynolds said. “…We worked to save lives by passing a new law that addresses the opioid epidemic.”

Malissa Spranger, with the Mercy Turning Point Treatment Center in Dubuque, is among those who testified last October during a two-day statehouse hearing. She told legislators some patients wait for months to get into a drug treatment program.

“It’s literally like telling somebody that’s having a heart attack to come back in six weeks when your bed’s available,” Spranger said. “What we’re seeing is patients returning to their communities and, unfortunately, ending up deceased.”

Governor Reynolds will be at Mercy Medical Center in Dubuque at 3 p.m. today to sign the opioid bill into law.

Iowa will join 26 other states in forcing physicians to register prescriptions with the state’s drug monitoring program — to curb “doctor shopping” for multiple opioid prescriptions. Paper prescriptions will become a thing of the past in Iowa, too, by 2020. Pharmacists say prescriptions that are submitted electronically ensure there’s no tampering to increase the dosage or the number of pills prescribed.

The new law also contains a so-called “Good Samaritan” provision. It means those who call 911 to report someone has overdosed can’t be arrested for using drugs at the scene of the overdose.