According to preliminary data from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), the number of deaths involving opioids from January to August of 2018 has fallen 35 percent from 2017. So far, 89 opioid-related deaths have occurred during the first eight months of this year, compared to 137 during the same time period last year.
“Several factors could be contributing to the decline,” said IDPH Opioid Initiatives Director Kevin Gabbert. “Widespread availability of Naloxone (a drug which revives an overdose victim long enough to get them to emergency medical care), the state’s Prescription Monitoring Program, and evolving medication assisted treatment programs all play a role. This decrease is encouraging, but work remains.” Gabbert went on to say, “It’s important to remember that this is preliminary data. Typically, data isn’t finalized until four to six months after the year ends, which means these number could still increase.”
In 2000, there were 23 opioid-related deaths in Iowa and that number has risen fairly steadily since then, to a high of 206 in 2017.
For more information about how IDPH is addressing opioid misuse, visit https://idph.iowa.gov/mat/otp. If you or someone you care about is misusing opioids, Your Life Iowa can help. Visit YourLifeIowa.org for information, resources and live chat, call 855-581-8111 or text 855-895-8398 24 hours a day, seven days a week.