Thursday, January 27, 2022

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Davenport, Iowa Fights Drug Abuse

The state of Iowa may be privileged to have, collectively, the second-lowest drug abuse rate in the country, but Iowans do not rest on their laurels. They have recognized its existing drug-related problems, to the point of initiating various action plans and educational programs, including Take Back for prescription opiates.

Methamphetamine is a major scourge in Cedar Rapids, as is pot, alcohol, and prescription opiates. Cocaine use represents less than 1% of the population, based on treatment center admissions.. Year-to-year pot, heroin and meth have morphed into greater and greater strengths, as they are typically laced with other elements to deliver relief to an addict that is no longer received by prescription opiates alone.

If you live in Cedar Rapids and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.

Cedar Rapids physicians, like many around the country, have undertaken more responsible roles in terms of granting of prescriptions to their clients. This will continue, as medical doctors are increasingly pressured to respond to the growing prescription painkiller problem. Alternative methods of pain relief are also being offered by various health centers, including such healthy options as yoga.

The outlook for Cedar Rapids to curb its primary substance issues is optimistic, and likely to continue its recent trends.. Alcohol and pot use will remain popular especially with young people, until either such proactive or healthier methods take hold on a wider basis, or until the event of a personal tragedy, or death.

One hopes the city can attain an increasingly effective grasp of its increasing issues, but for now Cedar Rapids remains a model of efficacy for fighting drug abuse.

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Cedar Rapids is consistent with its parent state in terms of its drug issues. Statistics are very much in line with the rest of the state, and the specific drugs most frequently misused are also nearly identical. 

Recent headlines (2017-2018)  include: Opioids, Meth and Marijuana Top Cedar Rapids Drug Problem; Meth Remains Cedar Rapid’s Top Drug of Choice; Cedar Rapids Man Arrested on Several Drug Charges; Cedar Rapids Woman Arrested Following January Drug Bust at IC Hotel; Huge Iowa Drug Ring Busted: More than 20 People Convicted in U.S. Court in Cedar Rapids; and Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Makes Massive Drug Bust.

Why reprint these headlines? To reiterate that though Cedar Rapids drug problem is considered well below the country average, the issues still exist.

Otherwise, Cedar Rapids itself is a beautiful city. It is the second-largest city in the state, and the county seat of Linn County. It is within the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Corridor, which includes the counties of Linn, Benton, Cedar, Jones, Washington and Johnson.

The area of Cedar Rapids is 72.07 square miles, of which 1.27 square miles is water. The 2016 estimated population of the city is 131,127.

Cedar Rapids is considered Iowa’s hub for arts and culture. The present median family income is just over $65,000, which is slightly above the national average. Muslim culture is strong in the city, with several mosques spread throughout. Racial makeup is predominantly Caucasian, at nearly 90%. African American follows, at 6%, and Asian, at 2%. Hispanic or Latino of Any Race makes up 3.3% of the state’s population. The city’s major economic driver is corn and grain processing, though many large corporations, such as Toyota, maintain offices in the area.

Cedar Rapids is a model city in many ways. It is a model of diversity, of culture, and of stepping up to its drug-related problems. Regarding the latter, again, the battle continues. The efforts, however, continue to yield notable results.


For perspective, any authentic conversation about the drug issues plaguing Cedar Rapids should begin with a wider view of the same issues regarding Iowa proper. In a recent statewide report –  the 2018 Iowa Drug Control Strategy – the following statistics represented the state’s primary drug problems:

  • Opioid abuse continues to grow and evolve, as it has year-to-year since 2015.
  • Opioids aside, methamphetamine and marijuana are considered the most commonly-used addictive substances in the state.
  • Both pot and heroin use are increasing based on an ongoing increase in potency, which makes them potentially more addictive, and dangerous.
  • Drugs with a synthetic (or natural) increase in potency are being manufactured more cheaply than ever before, making the profit margin of Iowa traffickers that much higher.
  • The state of Iowa, on a more positive note, maintains one of the lowest overall rates of illegal drug use in the United States, at 6.27%, which is well below the national average of 9.77%, and second only to South Dakota at 5.82%.
  • Alcohol and tobacco use continued to decline in 2017, as they have year-to-year since 2015.
  • From 2004 to the present, these numbers have decreased by 50%.
  • 21% of all Iowa adults are considered “binge drinkers,” a figure that (still) exceeds the national average of 17%.
  • Alcohol and drug-related traffic fatalities increased from 2016 to 2017, hitting a nine-year high of 107 such incidents attributed solely to alcohol, and 84 incidents attributed to drugs and alcohol both.
  • Pot use use among 11th-grade high school students declined another 10% from 2016.
  • Non-medicinal use of prescription medication decreased 4%, but treatment center admissions increased by the same percentage.
  • Methamphetamine use among young people is lower than the national average, attributed in part due to the lessening of meth labs in the state, which in 2017 numbered less than 85, and is expected to be less than 50 by the end of calendar year 2018. Note: Over 1500 meth labs operated in the state, as a comparison, in 2004.
  • The lifesaving Naloxone, a drug used to treat heroin overdoses, has increased in carry and administration by first responders, and family members and friends of addicts.
  • Alcohol and drug-related hospital emergency room and treatment center admissions continued 2016’s upward trend, numbering 46,429 in 2017.
  • ER and treatment center admissions in 2017 were due to the following as primary causes, in the following percentages: 45.2% for alcohol, 25.3% for marijuana, 19.8% for meth, 6.2% for Other Substances (including opioids), and 2.5% for heroin. Cocaine represented less than 1% of all such admissions as a primary cause.
  • Overdose deaths caused primarily by opioids were 180, an all time high.

To reiterate, on a purely statistical basis, Iowa represents the second-lowest drug-plagued state in the country. Various efforts, included the lauded Take Back program for unused prescription opioids, have had an immensely positive effect.

That said, though the numbers are less than in most of the country, drug issues in Iowa are still problematic, not only for the addict but for loved ones of the addict, employers and more.


Pre-intake is the process whereby a concerned user believes they may have a problem, and they begin the process of seeking help.

Frequently, if trust is not an issue, one will turn to a loved one – a family member or a friend – and casually inquire as to their thoughts on getting help for what may be a “problem.” If trust is an issue, however, the safety of internet research to find helpful resources is always an option.

Always remind yourself of this: Help is always out there.

If you look online, you will find several resources to guide you. We are happy you have found The Recover, as we are dedicated to your success.  

To determine the extent and nature of one’s addiction, pre-intake questions may include the following: “How long have you been using?” “Do you believe you have a problem?” “Do you think others who know you believe you have a substance-related problem?” “Have others confronted you with questions related to substance abuse?” “Do you ever use alone?” “Have you ever substituted one drug for another, thinking one particular drug was the problem?” “Does the thought of running out of drugs terrify you?” “Have you ever been in a jail, a hospital, or a drug rehabilitation center because of your using?”

You can find pre-intake sample applications online. In this case, as with any other self-diagnostic tool, the questions as asked are exploratory only. You must speak to a trained and licensed professional for any true diagnosis. Still, such online tools such as a pre-intake questionnaire can be extremely useful. If you can honestly answer those questions, you may be validated, or you may dislike your responses. If you were drawn to the tool, likely both will apply. Regardless, consider your results, and then take necessary action.

If you find your answers to the preceding questions alarming, we suggest that you follow up with other, more positive questions: “What are my life’s goals?” “Where do I want to be in my life one year from now?” “Where do I want to be in my life five years from now?” “Where do I want to be in my life ten years from now?”

If like many users you cannot answer such goal-related questions, try this: “Where do I want to be tomorrow?” If your answer to this question is dark, or bleak, and related to depression, it’s time to seek treatment. Similarly, if your answer is something positive, the very fact that you have come to this point and have begun researching options also means it’s time to seek treatment.

There are pros and cons with online resources such as these, particularly when it comes to completely basing your treatment decisions on your own responses. That would be a negative, as remember, such questions are guidelines only without a trained professional to analyze your answers. Regardless of whether such questions are based on true-life examples of treatment center queries (they usually are), you may not be the best arbiter of your responses. Most especially if you are under the influence of any drug, or alcoholic drink. On the positive side, if you can be truthful with your answers, such online questions will certainly provide a glimpse into your condition, and the need for help.

Regardless, kudos to you for checking such online resources. That’s certainly a proactive start. A quick note, however: Even if you don’t believe you are addicted, but are concerned that your usage is growing, help is out there.  You do not have to be on the far side of addiction to reach out to various resources on The Recover. In the same spirit, if you are drawn to use, but have not yet, The Recover provides resources available to you as well. It is never too early, nor is it ever too late. These are tools that have been formed for reason, and they are there for you.


During the intake application process, you will be required to list your prescription medications and days and times taken (if “none,” you check “none”), an authorization of medical care, a list of allergies or other medical issues, and a waiver of responsibility. Some applications ask for more. A physician or treatment center representative will then review your application for the proper steps, and treatment.

One of the greatest benefits of a well-thought treatment plan is that every day will bring a new step in your treatment, and each step will lead to another. During this process, you may well learn of the stringency and urgency of structure, especially if your problem is too large for outpatient therapy, and in-patient will be your next step. The structure you learn and the discipline you will attain will help you immensely during one of the advanced stages of your formal treatment process: the sober house.

Conversely, one of the more difficult aspects of the intake process is one of trust. We all know that a user does not always trust easily. If you fall into this category, we need to reinforce to you that your treatment team is there for you. They will spend the time working with you and for you. In as much as you can, speak to them openly. If you believe a given treatment as administered by a professional is disagreeable to you, you need to make that known to them.

We’ve spoken about the power of commitment on these pages before. There will be an element in your treatment of letting go of any defiance and trusting others. Trust usually comes in time.

As we said, intake is but a step in a larger process.


Detox addresses the physical hold of an addiction. The length of a detox program will vary based on several factors, including the nature of the addiction, and of the addict’s personality. Regarding the former, chemical dependency frequently occurs that must be medically handled, as your brain has become fully dependent on further use of the substance in order to function. This is a medical issue that will frequently require medication to handle.

During the early phases on detoxification, withdrawal will occur which can be a painful process. Your system will be cleaned of the drug, and your brain will learn to operate as it once did. Certain withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening, which punctuates the importance of full and systemic treatment. 

The concept and practice of detox is typically broken down into three distinct phases: Evaluation, Stabilization, and Transition to Inpatient Drug Rehabilitation.


What is withdrawal? How long does it last?


Post-withdrawal, the process of your ongoing recovery can be either inpatient, or outpatient. Inpatient treatment is appropriate for more severe cases, and the generally more flexible outpatient treatment is geared towards those with a more moderate addiction (though addiction is still addiction) and a stronger support system in their home environment.

Inpatient treatment can either be a PHP (a partial hospitalization providing a highly-structured environment, with typically active treatment of 30 hours per week), the less-intensive IOP (intensive outpatient treatment plan, which requires up to three hours daily over 3-5 days, for a total of nine hours weekly; therapy is usually included, but the patient can live either at their own home or a halfway house during the process), or an RTC (residential).

Most inpatient therapies, regardless of option will last 5-10 days. They can last longer based on the severity of the problem, and the patient’s physical and mental fitness.

Among its services, a PHP will most frequently incorporate intensive one on one therapy in its treatment program. The reason for this is most PHP admissions are due to disturbances in behavior from the drug being abused, or for those who experience otherwise increased symptomatology. In a PHP, the patient is often isolated and of no risk to other patients. 

PHPs and RTCs are highly-structured treatment options. PHPs are the most structured options of all. If you have little structure in your home environment, both of these invaluable choices will likely take some time getting used to. That said, the importance to your overall treatment plan cannot be understated.

Note: Substance use disorder treatment is listed as one of the 10 Most Essential Health Benefits of the Affordable Care Act, meaning that your care is covered if you have health insurance. If you do not have insurance, many treatment centers offer financial aid.

Always ask when you speak to a treatment advisor if this is a concern, as inpatient treatment is more expensive than outpatient.


Outpatient treatment is often preferred when one has substantial duties in their outside environment, such as school or family. In fact, family and friend group therapy is often included in this option, which is quite flexible in its scheduling. Outpatient treatment has proven to be very effective for those with underlying causes for their addiction, such as eating disorders, to grasp the root of their substance-related issues in a more relaxed setting among familiar support systems.

As an outpatient, you are not enmeshed in a structured environment, you live at home and you are not under constant supervision. However, outpatient treatment is no less important or helpful than inpatient treatment. Though the scheduling of your appointments may be flexible, you still need to commit to the time. If you miss one appointment, you will likely miss another. 

Ask yourself if you are responsible enough for an outpatient program. If you are, and you maintain your treatment, the rewards can be innumerable.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment are comprehensive approaches to wellness. You will face temptations in both but as long as you remain responsible, you will also learn specific strategies as to how to deal with them. It is up to you to take advantage of those lessons.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?


Sober living may be the final step in your formal treatment plan before returning home, but treatment never really ends. Sober living houses provide the interim environment between rehab and mainstreaming back to your natural environment. The reason for the initial formation of sober houses was simple: a person in recovery frequently needed a safe and supportive place to stay, during the vulnerability of early recovery, prior to returning home.

Sober houses are also highly-structured, and most residents are referred to a sober living environment from a rehab center. Requirements and rules are strict, and they usually include: No drugs or alcohol on the premises. No violence. No overnight or sleepover guests, not even family. Commitment to random drug testing. Involvement in a community-related program. Acceptance by a peer group. Acceptance of advice from treatment professionals. Respect for the rules of the house. Following all directions. No swearing. No stealing. No sexual activity between residents. Honesty. As part of a recovering community, if you see or hear any resident breaking the rules of the community, they must be reported immediately to appropriate staff. Anyone on prescribed medication must inform the house manager upon admittance. Residents must attend all sober house meetings. Residents must submit to drug and/or alcohol tests upon request. Rooms must be clean at all times. Chores must be completed without argument. Curfew must be respected.

Many of the above rules are enforced with a Zero Tolerance Policy. Meaning, if any of these rules are broken even once, you risk being kicked out of your sober living home. If you had experienced structure during your prior treatment to this point, you should be in good shape.

What happens after discharge?