Drug Policy Advisory Council Meeting Minutes - October 22, 2015

Location: Pape State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 

Called to Order: October 22, at 1:00pm 

Adjourned: October 22, 2015 at 2:45pm

Voting Members Present: Vern Armstrong; Kile Beisner (for Steve Michael);Thomas Bower; DeAnn Decker (for Kathy Stone); Matthew Harkin; Jane Larkin; Dave Lorenzen; Steve Lukan; and Jason Sandholdt.  Non-voting members: Steven Arndt (telephone); and Larry Doss.

Voting Members Absent: Barb Anderson; Paul Feddersen; Warren Hunsberger; Katrina McKibbin; Jennifer Miller; Chris Wilson.  

Guests: Dan Chatham, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District; Conner Quealy, WHO Radio; Joyce Russell, Iowa Public Radio; and Jennifer Sleiter, Unity Point.  

Staff: Dennis Wiggins; Dale Woolery.

Welcome and Introductions
Director Lukan called the meeting to order and attendees provided introductions. 

Approval of the May 21, 2015 minutes
Motion to approve minutes. Minutes approved. 

Opioid Update, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District
Dan Chatham, from the United States Attorney’s Office provided an overview of national and Iowa opioid use trends.  Dan highlighted an alarming increase in heroin use in the Northeast segment of the United States. Dan indicated that Eastern Iowa has also experience an increase in heroin related issues in recent years.  

Dan stated that his office has seen a pattern of people who have transitioned from prescription drug use to heroin.  He indicated that their drug use is often initiated with prescription medications to manage pain.  Dan reported that heroin is significantly cheaper and in many cases easier to acquire than prescription drugs.  Dan also said that the heroin market has responded to the demand for higher purity heroin, resulting in street level purity levels rarely seen in Iowa and in the Midwest.  

Dan said that in his district, a lot of the heroin addicts are repeat customers for medical first responders and for law enforcement.  Dan said that the lack of detoxification resources limit their options in dealing with this population.  Dan indicated that with the help of the Midwest HIDTA, the Cedar Rapids Police Department has assigned an Opioid coordinator who will work with community prevention, treatment, and medical professionals to develop a coordinated response to this emerging issue.  

Dan reported that Federal statutes allow for sentencing enhancements for offenders who distribute illegal drugs resulting in the death or serious injury of users.  Dan said the Federal system can be particularly useful to communities dealing with this issue.  Traffickers sentenced under the enhancements can be incarcerated for a 20 year mandatory minimum or up to life if they have a prior offense.  

Dan informed the Council that the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the University of Iowa are co-sponsoring a Heroin and Opioid summit in Iowa City November 12th.  The Summit will bring together law enforcement, educators, policy, and health care professionals to exchange information and strategies to address the emerging heroin and prescription opioid abuse and overdose problem facing eastern Iowa.

Opioid Response, Iowa Department of Public Health
DeAnn Decker provided a briefing on the Department of Public Health’s successful grant application to increase the availability of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for substance abuse disorders.  The Department will receive $1 million per year for three years for this purpose.  

IDPH will use the grant to fund MAT treatment in four Iowa counties.  Counties will be chosen on a competitive basis and funding will support infrastructure improvements designed to improve referrals, case management, and follow-up.  Funding will also support the cost of medications.  Participating treatment programs will be required to include doctor supervised medication management imbedded in a substance abuse treatment program.  

DeAnn reported that the grant will also include an online collaborative education element for prescribers which will provide free CME credits.  

An evaluation of the program activities will be conducted by the Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation.  

Agency/Organization Updates
Steve Lukan: ODCP is putting the finishing touches on the annual Drug Control Strategy.  He indicated that the strategy will include some positive trends in drug use, including: a reduction in the number of people being sent to prison for drug crimes; continuing reductions in clandestine methamphetamine lab responses; and a reduction in the overall rate of youth alcohol use.  

Kile Beisner: CJJP received a federal Second Chance grant of $750,000 to address youth reentry.  The award follows a yearlong multiagency planning effort.  Similar to the adult Second Chance program, the objective of the grant is to improve outcomes for youth returning to the community from out of home placements.  

CJJP is building capacity to conduct cost benefit analysis based on the Results First model.  

Larry Doss:  The National Guard Counterdrug Task Force is under a continuing resolution which has resulted in cuts to programming.  MCTC is still functioning though not at full capacity.  

Jason Sandholdt:  The Iowa State Sheriff and Deputy Association has not yet set their legislative agenda, but will have an interest in any Naloxone legislation involving first responders and anticipates that there will be sentencing reform legislation of interest to their association.  

Thomas Bower:  The Judicial branch recently held a meeting on the overrepresentation of minorities in the criminal justice system.  Justice Bower indicated that he is working on a project to collect data on the connection between drug use and termination of parental rights.    

Jane Larkin:  The Association of Coalitions For Change (AC4C) is planning the Youth Talking Out legislative day January 15th.  The focus this year will be on marijuana.  Jane reminded the group that Red Ribbon week is October 23-31.  

Dave Lorenzen:  The DOT is hosting a Human Trafficking coalition building event in Western Iowa.  Dave reminded the group that this issue is not limited to large metropolitan areas.  

Next meeting will be announced at a later time. There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.  

Dennis Wiggins

Steven F. Lukan, Coordinator