Gov. Reynolds tours Turning Point treatment center in Dubuque, d - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Gov. Reynolds tours Turning Point treatment center in Dubuque, discusses opioid crisis

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Some are calling the opioid epidemic a public health issue. State lawmakers, healthcare providers and law enforcement came together in Dubuque to find possible solutions. 

Governor Kim Reynolds was in town as part of her week-long tour, focusing on opioid awareness. "We want to be helpful and be part of the solution," she said.

In the last few years, Dubuque has been hit hard by this.

"We've been told by federal experts, this crisis will really begin to hit Dubuque in about four or five years, so it's very concerning to us," said Malissa Spranger, coordinator at Mercy's Turning Point Treatment Center.

According to the Dubuque County Sheriff's Department, so far this year, there have been 16 heroin-related overdoses. Four of those led to deaths.

"You hate to say throwing more money at the problem is the solution, but in certain areas it is. Things like suboxone treatment that can be used to help people get off the heroin," said Joe Kennedy, Dubuque County sheriff. 

Health experts said another solution is access to care. In Dubuque, there's no residential treatment center, or opioid specific detox facility.

The Good Samaritan law was also mentioned as a possible solution, which Iowa does not have.  It means, if two people are using drugs and one of them happens to overdose, the other person would not be charged with possession if they call 911. Authorities say in situations like this, people are afraid to call for help and lives have been lost. 

Gov. Reynolds will host an opioid awareness forum, Thursday at Drake University in Des Moines.

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