Opioid-related deaths are down by nearly 50 cases statewide since last year, but more than 10,000 Iowans got treatment for meth, the most ever. Dale Woolery, interim director of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, says the renewed rise in meth abuse is disheartening.
Woolery says, “We’re also, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health, seeing an increase in Iowans who are being reported dying of psycho-stimulant related circumstances.” Meth is a stimulant while opioids, in general, have a sedative effect. Woolery notes some people misuse both drugs and says policy efforts need to address all types of addiction. He says the drop in opioid abuse and overdose deaths is thanks to several simultaneous efforts.
“Everything from health care professionals changing the way they treat pain to reducing the number or level at which they prescribe opioids to address pain. Increased use of that opioid overdose-related or rescue drug, naloxone,” Woolery says. “That’s saving lives.” Woolery says he’s hopeful the opioid epidemic will continue to improve.
(Thanks to Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio)