New Website Aims to Educate Iowans About Emerging, Dangerous Drugs

(Radio Iowa) The state is launching a website designed to inform Iowans about new and emerging drugs and other products, both legal and illegal, many of which can be deadly. Dale Woolery, director of the Iowa Office of Drug Control Policy, says this type of online educational resource about drugs is urgently needed.

“They’re evolving quickly, faster than ever,” Woolery says. “Their manufacture, their marketing, their use and tragically, some of the ramifications of their use.” You can find the website by Googling “Iowa drugs” and that’ll take you to the state drug czar’s site, then just scroll down to “Emerging Drugs in Iowa.” Woolery says the information will be very useful to people in the healthcare industry, prevention and treatment, and law enforcement arenas.

“But it’s also for parents,” Woolery says, “and caregivers of young Iowans who have to face questions potentially if they find something or if their child brings something home and says, ‘But it’s just this,’ and it may be for sale.” One featured drug is Xylazine, an animal tranquilizer. It’s not new to Iowa veterinarians, but the drug is now being added by traffickers to illicit opioid products and he says it can lead to addiction — or death.

“It’s a prescription medication,” Woolery says. “It’s for animals, not humans, but it’s winding up in combination with fentanyl and other drugs that are being sold on the black market and consumed. Along with the fentanyl, it can be lethal.” There’s also a product called Kratom, an herbal substance that can produce opioid- and stimulant-like effects, but it can also cause psychiatric, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and respiratory problems. Kratom is legal in Iowa.

“Even though there may not be regulation or law on the substance in question, we want to put new drugs on the radar of Iowans so that even if we don’t have answers to all the questions because they’re new, we want Iowans to at least know there are questions.” The list of substances covered on the website includes vaping, fentanyl, and highly-potent marijuana products. There are also sections for cough and cold medications, counterfeit pills, and mushrooms or psilocybins.