In Iowa, we are facing an epidemic and Dubuque County is at the forefront of the strategy to reduce it's impact on Iowans lives. Opioid use and addiction is on a nationwide rise. I have been serving on the Governor's Opioid Epidemic Evaluation Study Committee. The study committee was established during the past legislative session and is made up of members from both parties in the Iowa House and Iowa Senate.
The goal of this committee is to comprehensively evaluate the state’s response to the opioid epidemic in Iowa, including a review of the protocols and practices related to the prescribing of opioid medications and the treatment options available.
During the meeting, our committee spoke with several key stakeholders, including state health officials, health care professionals, law enforcement officials, and members of the medical community, about ways to reduce opioid dependence and combat this ever-growing problem.
The committee will submit a report that includes findings and recommendations on how to combat the epidemic to the Governor and Legislature by November 15.
While not as bad as many other states, dependence on opioids has become a serious health problem in Iowa and many Iowans don’t understand the extent of this issue. It’s not just the people who abuse drugs like heroin. A lot of people become addicted to opioids following a serious injury that required prescription painkillers and it spiraled from there. So many Iowans have been effected by this growing problem.
This is a critically important issue that requires bipartisan solutions. I am committed to working with fellow legislators from both parties to reduce opioid dependence and abuse in Iowa.
During the 2017 session, I was a leader in the fight against the opioid epidemic. I floor managed House File 532 which would have required prescribing practitioners to register with the Iowa Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). This would encourage the use of the PMP to prevent doctor shopping and prescription drug abuse.
I also voted in support of House Files 523 and 524, which also dealt with responses to the opioid epidemic and opioid-related issues.
In 2018, I sponsored and passed comprehensive legislation to address Iowa’s growing opioid epidemic issues. HF2499 addressed Pharmacy practice issues, Good Samaritan allowance, treatment options, and prevention methods. This bill was signed by the Governor and it will save lives.