116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Congress must act to stop Iowa’s opioid epidemic
Jul. 23, 2021 2:53 pm
In Iowa and nationwide, the pandemic has understandably dominated headlines. Yet another public health crisis has only worsened in the past year. In 2020, nearly 420 Iowans died from a drug overdose, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. Three-quarters of these deaths are attributed to opioids.
The opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact on Cedar Rapids — one that I have felt personally. After my son died of an overdose in 2016, I was connected with Community Resources United to Stop Heroin and learned how pervasive addiction is here, oftentimes stemming from access to prescription opioids.
One essential step in reducing the human toll of the opioid epidemic is stopping addiction before it begins. Luckily, legislation recently reintroduced in Congress would do exactly that.
The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (“NOPAIN”) Act would increase access to safe non-opioid pain management options. It would update reimbursement protocols to incentivize the use for these types of treatment, without limiting health professionals’ access to opioid-based options when medically necessary. With this legislation, they will be better equipped to tailor treatments to patients’ individual needs, which could prevent millions of Americans from going on to long-term opioid use.
I’m grateful to Sen. Joni Ernst for co-sponsoring the NOPAIN Act and urge Iowa’s entire congressional delegation to support this critical legislation. It will give health professionals access to more tools to manage their patients’ pain — an approach all Iowans should get behind.
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