On May 26th, two ASAC staff members participated in a community forum on the issue of prescription pain killer abuse and the heroin epidemic in Eastern Iowa that was held in Clinton. Gabe Gluba, ASAC’s King House Manager, spoke on the topic of Community Solutions and Treatment Options and Barb Gay, ASAC’s Executive Director, was a member of a Question and Answer Session Panel. The event was sponsored by the US Attorney’s Office and the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative.
At the event, Al Fear, the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative Coordinator, said heroin addiction does not have a specific group it targets and that it can affect anyone. He explained the opioid epidemic has grown in the Midwest and in Clinton County. There have been 63 calls for drug overdose in Clinton County since the beginning of the year. In 2015, Narcan, which is used by first responders responding to a drug overdose, was used 36 times in Clinton County. With less than half the year complete, it has already been used 20 times. Fear says the numbers outline the serious issue opioid drugs have in Clinton County.
Gabe Gluba, ASAC’s King House Manager, told the audience “there are various options for treatment in the community. This includes halfway house options at the King House for men and at Hightower Place for both women and their children. They also offer transitional housing for individuals who have completed the halfway house program but are not ready to move back into residential housing. The most important thing is for people who need help to get treatment.”
On May 31st ASAC staff also participated in a follow-up to the February Cedar Rapids Town Hall Meeting. The purpose of this event was to talk about treatment options for those who need help. Melissa Walker, Deputy Director of Prevention Services, and Cale Loewen, Outpatient Counselor, talked about ASAC’s prevention, early intervention and treatment services. In the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Cale was quoted as saying “People need to know that it’s impacted our community drastically. It’s been a giant influx in heroin overdoses and the use, so for them to know our resources are there, for family members to know our resources are there, that they can seek help in their community is vital.”
ASAC was pleased to participate in these two important Town Hall meetings and is committed to helping individuals struggling with substance misuse and abuse.