Life in the Legislature

Representative Kristi Hager House District 56

We are wrapping up our session with Budget Appropriations and the final flurry of bills making it through in this our final week in Des Moines. In future newsletters I will report more of what bills were signed by the Governor into law and a brief overview of what they offer to Iowans.
I had the opportunity this week to travel to Des Moines for a committee meeting — I am assigned to the Sex Offender Research Council — a speaking engagement at Reclaim Iowa Rally, and to attend the Opioids Conference at Drake University supported by the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, Iowa Department of Public Health, IDPH, Coalition for Public Safety, and Drake University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences.
In between these meetings I set up time to meet with the bill drafters and staffers on possible legislation and to see how they are coming with submitted legislation. I was also able to connect with a gentleman who is working against human trafficking in the Des Moines area rescuing men and women caught in this cycle and/or struggling with addictions and providing a safe home for them. I recall being first introduced to the closeness of this issue when Bob served at the State House. A rally was held at the Rotunda including testimonies from girls rescued out of Human Trafficking. Thursday afternoon I was able to accompany “John” and two others (one who was one of the rescues) to meet with a young 29 year old. I left as they were taking her to a safe home and gearing up for a drive to pick up another female who was fearing her life after being threatened if she left! This is a real problem not only in Des Moines but closer to our home towns as well. I will be co-sponsoring legislation this upcoming session regarding this issue.
At the Opioids Conference we had the opportunity to hear from two expert panels. One on the topic of “Health Care Provider Strategies to Reduce Opioid Misuse” and the second on “Iowa’s Evolving Response to the Opioid Epidemic”. Attorney General Tom Mill and Governor Kim Reynolds were also featured guest and we were able to hear a testimonial from Caleb on his path “From Pain to Addiction and into Recovery”. Some of this things shared dealt with the transformation of pain management about 20 years ago with the impetus for a patient to be pain free. Many of you are familiar with the Pain Scale of 0-10. This focus on zero pain and what would be effect pain management plan to obtain no pain. This shift helped push opioid sales from $45 million in 1996 to a $1.5 billion dollar industry by 2002. Prior the focus was on how the patient defined what pain is; how was chronic pain impacting their activities of daily living, were prescriptions effective in controlling pain responses to the point of functionality. The IDPH reported “use of opioids (which include heroin and prescription pain relievers) is becoming a problem of epidemic proportions in more rural areas of the country….Data collected by the Bureau of Substance Abuse show that treatment admissions related to opioid use have more than tripled since 2005 (from 608 to 2,274 in 2016). During that same time overdose rose from 28 to 86 and deaths from 59 to 180. According to the CDC, in 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescription for opioids–enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills. In a study by the International Narcotics Control Board, the United States accounts for nearly 100% of the Hydrocodone used globally and 81% of Oxycodone used.
In 2016, former Governor Branstad signed SF2218 and HF2460 into law, which increased availability of Naloxone (a reversing agent) for persons in a position to assist. There is also a “standing order” allowing a person in a position to assist in the event of an opioid overdose, to go into any participating pharmacy and purchase Naloxone without first having to see a physician.
I know President Trump is looking at the need to address this Opioid epidemic as well. This was a worthwhile conference.
Enjoy what remains of October and as always feel free to contact me with questions or concerns…Kristi or call 563-568-1084

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