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Drug Overdoses Quadrupled in 11 Years

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- 29 year old Allison Miller is nearing the end of a 17 year journey.

Well it started out with Vicodin, then Methadone, Morphine, Delotteds, Miller said.

She was an addict, dangerously addicted to pills that were bringing her life to a screeching halt.

I'd go 24 hours or longer without knowing what was going on in my home with my kids, Miller said. They fed themselves, they bathed themselves.

Miller overdosed several times, unaware of her limits.

I'd make myself throw up, so I could go back to what I was doing and take more pills.

She is not alone in her struggle. The number of Iowans using prescription drugs illegally is on the rise. A new report shows the number of Iowans dying from a drug overdose quadrupled in just over a decade. It went from less than 2 percent in 1999 -- to more than 8 percent in 2010.

The good news - Iowa has the seventh lowest rate for overdose deaths.

We've really seen an increase in overall admissions per year with prescription drug addiction, said Kelly Reitzler with the Area Substance Abuse Council.

ASAC says the 2008 flood was a major contributing factor to the increase of prescription drug abuse here in Eastern Iowa.

I think the stress related to a natural disaster of that nature pushes people's anxiety and they were seeking out relief, Reitzler said.

National experts say Iowa's drug monitoring program and 'doctor shopping' laws - which stop users from going doctor to doctor- have helped. Reitzler questions how much, however.

We have people that will go from town to town, to different clinics, and seem to still be able to gain a prescription.

Miller says that life of addiction is over for her.

There's only so long you can play in the street before you get ran over.

Now 7 months sober, her kids give her a high no drug could.

I told myself I loved my kids for a long time, all their lives, but I'm just now beginning to fall in love with my kids, Miller said.

She plans on making the best of her second chance.

There's absolutely no drug out there that can make a person's life better, Miller said.

Miller says her turnaround is well on its way. She's five classes away from completing her bachelors degree in psychology and criminology.
 
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