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Under the Golden Dome: Managing Opioids 2/9/2018

The human brain has opioid receptors that process pain and pleasure.  An opioid drug like morphine, oxycodone, or Percocet is often prescribed to alleviate physical pain from a surgery or physical injury.

Opioids are addictive. In 2017, about 200 people died in Iowa from an opioid drug overdose.

On this show, two bills to help curb opioid drug abuse are moved out of subcommittees.

One will require doctors and pharmacies to use an electronic prescription system.  There is concern some areas of the state might not be able to comply with the technology needs, but the bill includes a wavier that can be applied for up to a year.

The other bill to address opioid abuse is one establishing a needle exchange program.  This would allow for the distribution of sterile needles without questions, a practice that is presently illegal in the state. Proponents say programs like this in other states reduce the spread of hepatitis C and HIV.  They also say they serve as a means for users to discover treatment programs because it helps addicts make connections to services they might not otherwise make.

We also talk with an Iowa man who spent most of his life using drugs, including heroin. Because he shared needles with other users, he became infected with hepatitis C.  A big part of his recovery is talk and listen with others who struggle with drug addiction.  He supports a needle exchange program in Iowa.

Both of these bills about about managing opioid use, have bipartisan support, and will go before full committees.

John Pemble is a reporter for IPR