From 2001 to 2014, there was a 6-fold increase in the total number of deaths due to heroin. Iowa has seen a similar spike in opioid-related deaths.
Officials say emergency room visits in Iowa related to opioid overdose have increased more than 200 percent over the last 10 years. Drug overdose deaths in Iowa more than tripled during that time.
Now, though, Iowans with family members who are addicted to heroin or narcotic painkillers will have an easier way to acquire a potentially life-saving antidote. This comes after action by the medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, Patricia Quinlisk, who has issued a standing order so that any family member who demonstrates a need can go to a local pharmacy and purchase Naloxone (otherwise known as Narcan) which can reverse the effects of an overdose. Iowa is now the 18th state to expand access to the drug through pharmacists.
On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks with Kim Brown, president and co-founder of QC Harm Reduction, whose son Andy died from an accidental heroin overdose in May 2011, as well as Kevin Techau, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa.
Also on the show, a discussion on the situation in the Middle East and the challenges that Donald Trump will face in that volatile region as President. Kieffer talks with Stephen Grand, executive director of the Middle East Strategy Task Force at the nonpartisan think tank, The Atlantic Council.
Grand will be in Iowa on Tuesday, December 6 as a speaker for the Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations.