The nation is battling a heroin and painkiller abuse problem. While Iowa’s fight has been less severe than some other states around the US, according to the Department of Public Health, opioid related emergency room visits in Iowa have more than doubled in the last decade.
During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Lori Peter, who lost her son Kelly to a heroin overdose in 2015.
"We really want to bring awareness to Iowans about how this is starting and what can be done to stop this from escalating to so many people," Peter says. "The problem that we had with it was that when he was going through his addiction, there wasn’t really anyone for me to reach out to. That’s what we’re trying to change now."
Iowa Public Radio's Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell, State Senator Brad Zaun (R) and State Representative Jared Klein (R) also join the conversation.
Zaun has been working on several bills proposing to reform criminal penalties for drug possession, and he shepherded a good samaritan bill through the Iowa Senate for underage drinkers. He hopes to see that eventually expanded to include illegal drugs in the future. Representative Klein has been working on legislation to aid in creating a useful prescription monitoring program in the state.