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How To Get Ahead Of The Opioid Epidemic In Iowa

Michael Longmire
Between 1999 and 2016, opioid mortality rates in rural counties in the United States increased by 740%. In the rural Midwest, the rate increased 1,600%.

Iowa’s death rate from opioid overdoses is lower than many states, but it is increasing. A new study from the University of Iowa’s Injury Prevention Research Center presents ideas for getting ahead of this trend.

Carri Casteel, with the Injury Prevention Research Center, says Iowa is investing in community recovery centers that will fill a gap between initial in-patient treatment and being healthy over the longer term. "They also provide peer support and they also provide support that addresses unemployment and homelessness and food issues," said Casteel.

Casteel says rural Iowa clinicians may also need help if they don’t have experience prescribing some of the medications that help wean a person off opioids.

Barbara St. Marie, Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa
Carri Casteel, Associate Director for the University of Injury Prevention Research Center

Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River
Katelyn Harrop is a producer for IPR's River to River and Talk of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River