DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds was in Dubuque County on Monday to sign a bill into law that requires doctors to screen patients’ risk of addiction before prescribing some painkillers.
The law is part of the state’s effort to begin addressing its growing opioid epidemic. Reynolds signed it at Mercy in Dubuque, a medical center that treats opioid addiction.
A good Samaritan provision will also give legal immunity to anyone who calls 911 to report an overdose.
Medical experts warn Iowa must be careful to avoid a spike in heroin and other illegal drug use, which some other states have experienced as an unintended consequence of limiting opioid medication.
The Iowa Department of Public Health says preliminary data shows the state had 98 deaths linked to heroin last year among 309 overall opioid-linked deaths.
(photo courtesy of Governor’s Office)