IOWA DRUG POLICY ADVISORY COUNCIL (DPAC) MEETING
Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Location: Pape State Office Building, 215 E 7th St, Des Moines, IA 50319
Virtual via Teams: Click here to join the meeting
Called to Order: Sept. 12, 2023, at 1:05pm
Adjourned: Sept. 12, 2023, at 3:12pm
Voting Members Present: Dale Woolery, Terra Kinney, Jason Feaker, Kevin Gabbert, Patrick Coughlin, Nicole George, Sharon Greer, Dave McDaniel, Rex Mueller, Ryan Moore
Voting Members Absent: Kelly Cunningham, Barb Anderson, Chris Wilson, Jeff Wright, Katrina Carter
ODCP Staff Present: Susie Sher
Director Woolery called the meeting to order and welcomed attendees.
Approval of the June 6, 2023 minutes
Minutes from June 6, 2023 were approved. Motion by Judge Greer, second by Terra Kinney.
Update: State Alignment, Boards/Commissions, and Rules
Dale provided an update on alignment. The Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) is now a bureau within the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Dale also shared that there is a review committee looking at all state boards and commissions. Included in that review is DPAC. The committee has recommended the elimination of DPAC. Dale emphasized the importance of DPAC and the input the council provides. He encouraged the group to continue to provide input and have a voice in important issues.
Judge Greer voiced concern that drug use is strongly related to many issues our state faces and the elimination of the Council will lessen insight for the leaders of our state. She questioned how community-based input will be sought without groups like DPAC, and whether ODCP had input into the review committee recommendations. Dale said he provided input a few weeks ago via a survey about boards and commissions and highlighted the importance of hearing local voices with diverse views.
Dale encouraged DPAC members who are so inclined to submit comments to the review board at the email address: BCRCcomments@iowa.gov. Chief Mueller and Pat Coughlin also shared concerns. Dale said he’s hopeful there will still be ways to get input and have people engage, even if the Council structure is removed from the Iowa Code. He continued that as long as people are willing to share their expertise and voice their views, ODCP is going to continue to listen to them.
The State is also undergoing a review of administrative rules. ODCP only has one set of rules, related to pseudoephedrine tracking.
Susie shared that ODCP recently sent out a Request For Proposals for Byrne Justice Assistance Grant mini-grant applications. Also, ODCP will soon issue a Request For Proposals for the new State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP) grant. She encouraged members to share the information.
Susan Krisko from the Office of Iowa Attorney General (AG) joined the meeting to hear about the issues discussed. She is interested in learning more about Drug Endangered Children.
Susie said that the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) approved the State Crisis Intervention Program (SCIP) plan and budget, as approved by the SCIP Advisory Board. The request for proposals will be released soon.
Iowa Cannabis Regulation Bureau Chief Owen Parker shared an update on “consumable hemp” products available in Iowa (PowerPoint attached). He talked about hemp and the legal 0.3% THC by weight threshold. During the 2020 Legislative session, the Iowa legislature created the consumable hemp program. Consumable hemp is now regulated by the Bureau of Cannabis Regulation in the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services (IHHS).
Owen explained how some consumable hemp products may contain high levels of THC while still being compliant under hemp laws. He showed the Council examples of such products, like edibles and drinkables. There are over 1,000 active registrants selling these intoxicating THC products in Iowa. Due to limited enforcement authority, it tends to be a local issue. There is also a lack of age restrictions, package and label standards and testing requirements. IHHS is acquiring an in-field analyzer for compliance inspections, working the AG’s office on a statement highlighting public health and consumer safety concerns, discussing possible legislative solutions, and developing education efforts around this topic. Owen also said as other states act to address these and other hemp-related issues, there’s been an increase in legal challenges to those actions.
Evolving Drug Challenges
Dale shared a brief update on emerging drug issues. He mentioned the new emerging drugs in Iowa website.
Ryan shared that xylazine and nitazines are being mixed with other drugs. Nitazines may be even stronger than fentanyl. This may be a new trend we start seeing. Xylazine is not an opioid, so naloxone does not work on it. Xylazine is typically used in veterinary settings. Dale stated that it is not a controlled substance. There are discussions at the state and federal levels about how to best deal with xylazine.
2024 Drug Control Strategy
Susie Sher gave an update on the upcoming Iowa Drug Control Strategy and Drug Use Profile. She reviewed the 2024 Iowa Action Plan (attached). Dale asked for input on the four priority areas listed. Suggestions for additions under Priority 1 included: early intervention, engagement, and using solid data for decision making. Kevin shared that HHS is focusing on recovery, including support services and housing services. HHS funds four recovery community centers. Law enforcement members shared that training about new drugs trends would be beneficial. Education on new hemp products is important. Ryan also shared that DNE agents are working with the United States Postal Service on drug cases.
Other Council Business and Public Comment
No other business was discussed.
An opportunity for public comment was provided, but no one offered comments.
Dale reminded the council that this will be his last meeting, as he is retiring.
Meeting adjourned. Motion by Ryan, second by Chief Mueller. Next meeting TBD.