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Meth Related-Treatments are Back on the Rise in Iowa as Opioid-Related Deaths Fall

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Just over a week ago Channel 13 told you opioid related deaths are on the decline, according to preliminary data from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH). But as the state works to conquer one addiction, an old foe is making a comeback.

“Methamphetamine has never gone away in Iowa, at least not in the last 15 to 20 years,” Dale Woolery the Interim Director of the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy said.

Iowans are now being admitted to treatment for a meth use disorder than ever before. The IDPH is finding from 2012-2016 the rate for methamphetamine related treatment admissions nearly doubled.

“We haven’t heard as much about it in recent years because meth labs have almost become non-existent; they are extremely rare,” Woolery said. “We’re looking at only 20-25 this year compared to 1,000-1,500 at the high water mark 15 years ago. So that has gone in a good direction.” But Iowans are still finding ways to get the drug.

“Not only is addiction a concern, but so is meth, and psycho-stimulant, related deaths,” Woolery said.

Methamphetamine related deaths in Iowa are increasing eight-fold since 2011, according to the IDPH. Just from 2016-2017, deaths involving meth jumped by more than 23 percent.

Woolery says regardless if preliminary data shows opioid deaths are down or meth use is up, it’s more about the bigger picture when it comes to this issue.

“It’s really not about a drug type or another drug type. It’s more about addicted substances generally,” Woolery said.

In regards to meth in Iowa's young population, the Iowa Youth Surveys statewide are reporting rates near zero for the past several years, according to the IDPH.