DRUG POLICY ADVISORY COUNCIL MEETING
Date: December 7, 2021 Location: *Virtual via Google Meet: meet.google.com/zdg-tjbz-mbv
Called to Order: December 7, 2021 at 1:03pm
Adjourned: December 7, 2021 at 3:28pm
Voting Members Present: Dale Woolery, Terra Kinney, Sharon Greer, Steve Michael, Barb Anderson, Jason Feaker, Ryan Moore, Pat Coughlin, Brenna Bird, Bob Larson (for Warren Hunsberger), Katrina Carter, Chris Wilson, Kevin Gabbert
Non-Voting Members Present: DeMario Luttrell (for Steve Larson), Rob Burdess, Miriam Landsman, Flora Schmidt, Jeff Wright
Voting Members Absent:
Vern Armstrong, Jason Sandholdt
Guests Present: Tabetha Gerdner, Chief Michael Tupper, David Hicks, Amanda Rooker (KCCI)
ODCP Staff Present: Dennis Wiggins
Director Woolery called the meeting to order and welcomed attendees.
Approval of the December 3, 2020 minutes
Minutes were approved. Motion by Judge Greer. Second by Jason Feaker.
Approval of the September 14, 2021 minutes
Minutes were approved. Motion by Judge Greer. Second by Chris Wilson.
Dale gave a recap of the recently released 2022 Iowa Drug Control Strategy and thanked DPAC members for their contributions to the document. He spoke briefly about highlights from the Executive Summary of the Strategy and current federal activity regarding substance use. Barb Anderson said she thought the process of speaking individually with each member was valuable.
Tabetha Gerdner from the Iowa Department of Public Health gave a presentation called “The New Nicotine Addiction.” She gave statistics on youth vaping and information on tobacco industry tactics to attract youth to their products. She described the use of flavors to attract youth to disposable vaping products due to a loophole in the ban on flavored products. She noted that the FDA does not currently regulate the liquid that goes into these products so there is no way to know what’s actually in the product, including nicotine. She described the difference in free based nicotine and nicotine salts. She also described the effects of nicotine on the body and many of the available products. My Life My Quit is a youth tobacco cessation program (information available here: https://idph.iowa.gov/tupc/community-partnership/quitline/My-Life-My-Quit)
Chief Tupper from the Marshalltown Police Department and David Hicks from YSS gave a presentation on a project called the Marshalltown Police and Community Team (MPACT). The project is a co-response between law enforcement and social services. The multi-disciplinary approach uses a social worker to respond with law enforcement on certain calls. Over the past 12 months, the project has received some additional local and federal funding after initial funding from the city council.
The project had three goals: to reduce unnecessary arrests and entry/re-entry into the criminal justice system, to increase resources for law enforcement when dealing with social service type calls, and to provide services at the right time and place. Community advocates work from 2pm to 12am seven days a week, with additional overtime. Law enforcement surveyed support the continuation of the project and believe there have been many positive impacts. Through November, the advocates have responded to 327 calls and 475 people have been assessed. The calls include mental health, family conflict, homelessness, welfare checks, juvenile needs, and substance use.
2021 Member/Organization Planning and Legislative Priorities
Dale spoke about ODCP’s proposal to update DPAC legislation to add two new members and update language. He also mentioned other legislation that may come up in the next session such as drug legalization, harm reduction, and equalizing criminal penalties.
Steve Michael said the Justice Advisory Board is making a recommendation to equalize criminal penalties relating to powder and crack cocaine but are not prefiling a bill. The Board also just released its annual update with several recommendations around mental health, racial justice, enhancing sex offender treatment and services for victims of sex offenses, and enhancing community-based corrections. He also talked about receiving a new federal grant to develop pre-charge diversion programs for juveniles.
Barb Anderson talked about a new grant process to support student mental health. The Department held a conference recently and are creating new webinars for schools.
Bob Larson mentioned the Teen Challenge organization has a new name – Sheepgate. In the near future, Sheepgate will have new housing available in Ames.
Brenna Bird talked about the County Attorney’s Association’s legislative priority of protecting victims of crime.
Chris Wilson mentioned workforce issues for mental health and substance use and the need for additional prescriber availability for youth mental health.
DeMario Luttrell shared that there is new outreach unit within ABD that is up and running for giving education to law enforcement.
Flora Schmidt cited behavioral health concerns about professional workforce shortages and COVID outbreaks causing closures. She also talked about legislation including HF736 and other regulatory issues.
Jason Feaker said the Waterloo Police Department is seeing a large increase in fentanyl amounts sold by drug dealers.
Jeff Wright highlighted a State Public Defender pilot project to preserve families. The project is designed to get involved with families before a child needs to be removed.
Katrina Carter discussed the impacts of COVID and K2 synthetic drugs getting into the prisons. Volunteer services will resume in 2022.
Kevin Gabbert talked about the new Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) media campaign called “It Starts with Us” about reducing stigma. IDPH also has two new surveys coming out about buprenorphine prescribing, and another from law enforcement regarding the use of naloxone.
Patrick Coughlin discussed working with a lawmaker on drafting proposed legislation regarding Medicaid reimbursement rates for certain services.
Rob Burdess said a proposed change to criminal penalties for heroin/fentanyl distribution is being eyed by some in law enforcement. There is also a study that will occur over the next year to look at the impacts of COVID on law enforcement. The Iowa Police Chiefs Association has created an Iowa Law Enforcement for Equity Task Force.
Ryan Moore and Terra Kinney echoed earlier comments about fentanyl.
Other Business and Public Comment
An opportunity for public comment was provided, but no one offered comments. No other business was discussed.
Meeting Adjourned. Motion by Terra Kinney. Second by Barb Anderson.
Next meeting May 10, 2022.
*This meeting was held virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Dale R. Woolery, Director