Gov. Reynolds Hosts ‘Combating Opioids Conference’

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The battle against drugs for Caleb Crawford has been a long and winding road. With stops that included jail, rehab and eventually a night in the E.R.

“If I had put my car in park, when I had overdosed in the front seat of my car that day I probably wouldn’t have rolled the car and crashed into my mom's house. My stepdad wouldn't have found me,” said Caleb Crawford.

 His road to recovery started that day over two years ago. Caleb’s story isn't an uncommon one in Iowa and that’s why he was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Governor’s Combating Opioids in Iowa Conference today at Drake University. She gathered over 200 of the leading officials working to tackle this growing issue in Iowa.

Last year more than 2,200 d people were admitted for treatment for opioid addiction in Iowa.  That is jump of almost 400% compared to 2005.

Opioid related overdoses have spiked as well.  There were 86 of them last year in Iowa, up from 28 in 2005.

 “So, where do we go from here?  In Iowa, we’re taking a multi-faceted approach in combating the opioid epidemic,” said Gov. Reynolds.  

Reynolds is pushing a four part plan to address the epidemic.

  • Encourage doctors to use the Prescription monitoring Program
  • Reduce the number of painkillers prescribed to patients
  • Make opioid overdose antidotes more accessible
  • Find alternatives to opioids to treat pain

Gov. Reynolds has had her own public battle with addiction.  Reynolds has two OWI convictions.  She stresses that when these people find the courage to ask for help, we need to be ready to assist them.

“When an individual is understanding that they want to get healthy, they want to get better. When they are at that point in the addictive process that they have access to a support system. That can really help through a very difficult, difficult journey,” said Gov. Reynolds.