SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Drug overdoses have killed more than 100,000 Americans in 2021, nearly a million since 1999, and the Midwest saw a 33% spike in deadly cases over the past year.

With prescription drug abuse at an all-time high and deaths by illicitly manufactured fentanyl on the rise in nearly every region of the country, the issue’s gotten the attention of Congress including Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.

“With the close of 2021 on the horizon, it’s natural to reflect. 100,000 overdose deaths is unspeakably tragic. Each loss is a loved one, a friend, a neighbor.”

Grassley and Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff helped introduce and pass the Rural Opioid Abuse Prevention Act unanimously a few weeks ago that will provide more federal funding for counseling agencies that provide addiction and recovery services in small communities impacted by heavy substance abuse.

Heartland Counseling Services has an office in O’Neill, Nebraska.

A therapist said the increased resources are crucial to fight this growing problem.

“We come across these extreme circumstances and we just need more help so having more access to the resources available like through telehealth or community-based programs like the AWARE grant has given us. It’s been very helpful and we’ve been able to reach a larger population,” said Heartland L.M.H.P. Aaron Youngberg.

Sergeant Jeremy McClure at the Sioux City Police Department reminds any Iowan who has a prescription also has access to Narcan which he said has saved several Siouxlanders’ lives over the last year. McClure explained some of the factors behind the rise in deadly overdoses.

“We are starting to see fentanyl and we’re also starting to see a trend where they’re pressed into pills to look like some other drug that people commonly abuse so obviously this is very concerning because someone may think they’re taking one thing and then in actuality, they’re getting fentanyl which is very easy to overdose on,” said Sgt. McClure.

Senator Grassley has also re-introduced the Meth Response Act and other legislation in Congress to try to bring an end to the opioid epidemic.