Opioids and Substance Use

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a category of substances, often called narcotics, that reduce the brain’s ability to feel pain and if misused can lead to incidents of overdose and death. Hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine and fentanyl are common types of prescription opioids. Heroin is the most commonly used illegal opioid drug.

With ongoing use, the body develops a tolerance, which means more and more opioids are needed to avoid pain and withdrawal. As a person’s tolerance increases, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms they will experience when they stop taking opioids also increases. For some, withdrawal symptoms include severe flu-like symptoms, physical pain, problems sleeping, and strong cravings for more opioids. While not technically life-threatening, opioid withdrawal symptoms are often so powerful that a person seeks out more opioids, and may overdose

An opioid overdose occurs when the amount of opioids in a person’s body is too high and begins to shut down their life-sustaining functions, such as breathing. The overdose reversal drug, naloxone, is available for people (friends, family, first responders, service providers) who may be in a position to assist in the case of an overdose. It is important to act fast and recognize the signs of an overdose.

Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning Project

In May of 2019, the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health and its partners, were awarded HRSA’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning Grant. This opportunity supports the development of the North Iowa Collaborative, a community-based team to analyze and assess the area’s opioid and substance abuse issues, access to treatment and medical providers, and develop an in-depth Strategic Plan, Workforce Development Plan and Sustainability Plan to address opioid and substance misuse in our area.

This partnership is comprised of:

  • Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health
  • Prairie Ridge Integrated Behavioral Healthcare
  • Mason City Youth Task Force
  • MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center

For more information contact Alyse DeVries at adevries@cghealth.com

Resources

Prairie Ridge Behavioral Integrated Healthcare- Opiates/Heroin information: https://prairieridge.net/opiatesheroin/

Iowa Opioid Summary- National Institute on Drug Abuse- https://www.drugabuse.gov/opioid-summaries-by-state/iowa-opioid-summary

Iowa Department of Public Health’s Opioid Update: https://idph.iowa.gov/substance-abuse/opioid-update

Nationwide Drug Overdose Data: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html

Iowa’s Good Samaritan Law: https://yourlifeiowa.org/iowas-good-samaritan-law

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.hhs.gov/opioids/

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $200,000. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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North Iowa Collaborative

Meeting Agendas:

Agenda 7.15.2019

Meeting Minutes:

Minutes 6.7.2019

Minutes 7-15-19