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New Drug Report Shows Mixed Results For Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- From marijuana to meth, it's a mixed bag when it comes to Iowa drug numbers.

We're excited about the changes that are happening, and concerned about some of the trends that we're seeing in the community, said Melissa Walker with the Area Substance Abuse Council.

First the good news: according to a new drug control policy report, Iowa has the third lowest rate of illegal drug use in the nation. In addition, police are seeing 5 fewer meth labs per month. The report also says deaths caused by heroin and prescription pain relievers are down by 10.

We have such an active prevention area and such an active community that takes a stand against drugs, Walker said.

Another highlight - more substance abuse treatment clients are seeing full time employment after treatment. Halfway houses have played a big role.

They can use that time to be able to find a job and transition into that job, while maintaining a substance free lifestyle, Walker explained.

Then there's the not so good.

The report says more powerful forms of meth are making their way into the state. As we showed you in a story just last month, Corbin Payne with the Tri County Drug Enforcement Task Force says users are embracing the more accessible crystal meth.

Homemade meth cooks are becoming a thing of the past, Payne said. Somebody can just meet you at somebody's house and just hand it over; you buy it, instead of cooking at somebody's house.

The report also says nearly 8,000 marijuana plants were seized last year, and marijuana related hospital visits have doubled in the past seven years.

Walker says the drug will be one of the biggest challenges going forward as it gets more potent.

The marijuana now is not the same marijuana that was available several years ago, she says.

Walker says one thing that has helped is that over the past few years, there has been less of a stigma surrounding drug treatment programs. As a result, people are less afraid to seek the help they need.

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