Iowa officials say heroin deaths spike in 2013


KIMT News 3 – The number of heroin overdose deaths is on the rise in Iowa. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, fatalities have more than doubled.

In 2008, the department says there were only up to four heroin related fatalities. That number doubled to eight in 2012, and now, 20 deaths are being reported in 2013.

In Minnesota’s previous legislative session, “Steve’s Law” was passed to prevent these deaths. It allows police officers and first responders to carry narcan, a drug to revive those who have overdosed. So far, nothing similar has passed in Iowa. According to one senator though, that doesn’t mean they won’t look into it.

“We’ve had different legislation proposed by law enforcement, pharmacy groups, and people who have seen trends. While we have not seen this particular piece of legislation being presented to us yet, we will certainly look at where the trends are going and act accordingly,” says Iowa State Senator, Amanda Ragan.

We’re told by specialists at Prairie Ridge Addiction Treatment Services that the numbers are also rising locally. They say they have seen a slight increase in people using IV heroin.

According to a narcotics enforcement officer, Iowa’s heroin problem appears to be worse in the eastern part of the state. That could be due to the fact that they are closer to suppliers in Chicago.

Nationally the use is increasing as well. Another treatment specialist attributes the national rise in heroin use to the abuse of prescription painkillers.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa officials say the number of fatal heroin overdoses more than doubled in the state last year.

The Des Moines Register reports ( ) the Iowa Department of Public Health says 20 people died in 2013. That’s up from eight in 2012. There were about one to four heroin deaths a year prior to 2008.

An Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement director says Iowa’s heroin problem seems to be worse in the eastern part of the state. He says those areas are closer to Chicago suppliers.

The department didn’t say who the victims were or where they died.

An addiction-treatment specialist says the national increase in heroin use correlates to a rise in the abuse of prescription painkillers.

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