drug use & abuse

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Gov. Terry Branstad signed a bill Wednesday that allows families, friends and first responders in Iowa to administer an emergency medication that counteracts the effects of an opiod overdose.

People who die from opioid overdoses often do so because the drug causes them to stop breathing, or their hearts to stop pumping. But the medication Naloxone can prevent death by counteracting the depression of the central nervous and repertory systems by ejecting opioid from receptors in the brain.

The head of the governor’s office of drug control policy will ask state lawmakers to make it easier for doctors and pharmacies to use the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.    The program is designed to prevent the overprescribing of painkillers and other addictive drugs.   

Wikimedia Commons

Denise Moore started using meth when she was 12 years old. She was arrested in her late 30’s, and nearly lost her children. Today, however, she’s sober and working to help other families recover from drug addiction.

TBEC Review / Flickr

A national survey confirms that e-cigarettes are increasingly popular among teens. Between 2013 and 2014, usage tripled among high school students. The Centers for Disease Control estimates there were 2.4 million e-cigarette youth users last year, and according to this year’s Iowa Youth Survey, e-cigarettes have overtaken regular cigarettes as a preference of Iowa teens.

Director for Tobacco Control and Lung Health for the American Lung Association in Iowa Megan Aucutt says that makes sense given what she’s seen and heard from Iowa teachers.


An annual report to the Iowa legislature and governor shows an increase in the amounts, potency, and use of methamphetamine in Iowa.

Joe Wilkinson / Iowa DNR

In a News Buzz edition of River to River, Host Ben Kieffer talks with IPR's Clay Masters about debate over a plan to ban the sale of e-cigarettes containing nicotine to minors. 

We hear from Cedar Rapids Democratic Senator Liz Mathis about the need for emergency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.  She says one family found it less costly to spend a week in a hotel, rather than heat their home using propane. 

We get local reaction to a new study on the effectiveness of mammograms. 

Clay Masters / IPR

The Iowa House voted to ban the sale of so-called e-cigarettes to minors this week. Electronic cigarettes heat liquid and nicotine into a smokeless vapor. Republicans, who control the House, blocked debate on a Democratic amendment that would have also kept similar e-cigarettes out of kids’ hands, even if they do not contain nicotine. Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters talks to the sponsor, Rep. Tyler Olson (D - Cedar Rapids) of the amendment and takes a trip to an e-cigarette shop in northwest Des Moines.

Gonzalo Merat

In the 50 years since the U.S. government released its first report on the hazards of cigarettes, smoking rates have dropped by half. Yet, about a fifth of Iowans smoke today.

And while the smoking rate of young adults continues to decrease, about 2,600 Iowa minors become new daily smokers each year.

“Most people who use tobacco products start at a very early age,” said Dr. Karl Thomas, Executive Vice Chair for Clinical Programs at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

amber e/ Love Nest

The holidays bring families together and sometimes that can cause stress.  In fact, navigating family togetherness when hurt and dysfunction abounds can seem impossible.

Scott* / flickr

We continue our series on corrections in Iowa by talking about mandatory minimum sentences. What is the goal of mandatory sentences and how effective are they? What are their legal, social and economic impacts?

In the second half hour, host Ben Kieffer takes a look at Iowa’s special courts – drug courts and mental health courts, for example. We find out how they work differently than conventional courts, the case for how special courts save lives and money, and why several drug courts in the state have closed.

States are forming health insurance exchanges in advance of a mandate from the federal government.  Host Joyce Russell talks about the bill to set up Iowa’s exchange.  Then, we talk about efforts to put further restrictions on synthetic marijuana, or K2.  That comes after a death, and several hospitalizations involving Iowa teenagers.

Heroin in Iowa

Jan 26, 2012

Deaths from heroin overdoses have spiked in Iowa in recent months and the Drug Enforcement Agency reports a cheaper, more potent version of the drug is in the state. We'll examine the drug's prevalence with Dale Woolery of the Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy and Kelly Reitzler of the Area Substance Abuse Council in Cedar Rapids.