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What policies can help end the opioid epidemic?

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

Iowa has seen a dramatic spike in overdose deaths in recent years, and fentanyl was implicated in 83% of statewide opioid deaths in 2021. What policies really make a difference in combatting the opioid epidemic and saving lives?

On this episode of River to River, host Ben Kieffer together with IPR Statehouse reporter Katarina Sostaric discuss bills advancing at the Statehouse with State Representatives Brian Lohse, R- Bondurant, and Ross Wilburn, D-Ames. In addition, an Iowa father who lost his daughter to an overdose shares his story, and an Iowa medical student who has testified before lawmakers discusses her experiences in the field and what policies have been effective outside of Iowa.


  • Jon Schulte, lost his daughter to a fentanyl overdose
  • Talia Sopp, University of Iowa medical student, drug treatment/naloxone advocate
  • State Rep. Ross Wilburn, D-Ames
  • State Rep. Brian K. Lohse, R- Bondurant

Those looking for help or treatment for themselves or others may find these resources helpful:

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio