Iowa Attorney General Miller: Increased use of fentanyl in Iowa an ‘enormous disaster’

Deaths linked to opioids increased last year in Iowa.
Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 5:29 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 20, 2022 at 5:31 PM CST
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, whose office has worked to address the opioid crisis in the state, is warning of the over-prescription of opioids that have led Iowans to addiction, and the worrying increase in fentanyl use among residents.

“Despite this work, we have seen the deaths from fentanyl rush to the front of the United States and Iowa,” Miller said during a news conference on Thursday. “The deaths we’ve seen have been heartbreaking. The pain and suffering of people who are addicted and their families and friends is enormous.”

Recently released statistics by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning overdose deaths was “shocking,” Miller said.

According to the CDC, from April 2020 to April 2021, more than 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, nearly 64,000 related to fentanyl. In 2011, fentanyl accounted for just 2,000 deaths.

The Iowa Department of Public Health estimates that fentanyl deaths rose from 31% of all overdoses in 2016 to 87% in 2021.

“We take a temporary time out to tell the public about this enormous disaster, while we continue to work on these opioid issues,” Miller said.

Fentanyl contamination of other drugs — including heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine — is increasing the risk of overdoses.

It is much more difficult to resuscitate someone who has ingested fentanyl, necessitating multiple doses of medication such as naloxone. The drug can also complicate treatment.

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