DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — The opioid crisis spiraled out of control over the last decade or two, leaving states, cities, and health clinics to deal with the aftermath.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has introduced a new website that aims to help those suffering from opioid addiction find proper treatment. The site is called IowaOpioidHelp.com and it is officially live as of Monday, September 19, 2022. The site breaks down the state into 19 areas, listing the best state-funded clinics available to those who are suffering.
In 2021, there were 268 people who died because of an opioid overdose in Iowa. According to the Attorney General’s office that is a 21.2% increase from 2020. Miller wants to destigmatize opioid addiction treatment.
“One of the things we are trying to remove is the stigma, so people feel more comfortable and the public is supportive of it and it happens more often,” said Tom Miller, (D).
Miller emphasized medications for addiction treatments or MATs. He said the state has underutilized these drugs in order to help those suffering from addiction.
“The MAT basically works this way, it’s a low-grade opioid that is given to people on a regular basis under medical or doctor care. And the key is that it satisfies the cravings without providing the highs.”
MATs like suboxone or methadone have been used for years and Miller wants to increase the number of treatment facilities that are licensed to use them. Through a $3.8 million agreement last year with the University of Iowa Health Care and Miller’s office, the health care system will train providers on using MATs.
One of the providers listed on the website is House of Mercy in Des Moines. The treatment center deals with people addicted to meth, alcohol, marijuana, and opioids. The facility has 80 beds available for women in the metro and has the ability to help 1,500 outpatients. House of Mercy’s director says that she is hopeful for this new tool.
“I think it can be confusing to know where to get help,” said Rebecca Peterson. “I’m glad to see this website come out with all the providers listed. I am really hopeful for people who get help and get treatment. We know that it works and it can make a lot of positive change in people’s lives and cause this positive impact in our community. Being part of this new initiative is really exciting.”