Iowa is a great state to live in.

In small, farm towns, you find peace and quiet. Things are more simple.

In cities like Des Moines, Iowa City, Ames, and Cedar Rapids, you find plenty of things to do and people to see.

In some areas, though, drugs are a problem. Production, sales, and use. I still remember when I was in high school and my cross country coach wouldn't let us do sprints on the beach of a local pond because "There are druggies in Iowa," referencing the fact that there may be needles in the sand.

One of the major narcotics that ravages Iowa is methamphetamine.

According to the Ames Tribune,

"Since 2017, methamphetamine usage has been on the rise in Story County and across all of Iowa. Over 500 pounds of the highly addictive drug were seized by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2019 alone, and Mary Greeley Medical Center (MGMC) in Ames is seeing patients in the emergency room daily with drug-induced psychosis caused by meth, and the number of local criminal cases involving the drug are increasing, authorities said."

This article was written in February of 2020.

It hasn't stopped, and the pandemic didn't help, either. There was a 20% increase in drug overdoses in 2020.

The drug arrives here in one specific way according to Dale Woolery, director of the Governor's Office on Drug Control Policy. He said it's coming from Mexico, as he told KCCI:

"They're getting it to the U.S., including states like Iowa, not only through drug traffickers but it's also being shipped and mailed into the state."

As to why it's so popular in our state -- it can be summed up in a separate statement from Woolery that he told to radioiowa.com:

"It’s so addictive that it’s going to take professional help, in most cases, to stop that use."

WebMD adds the following:

"The drug boosts the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine, leading to an increase of this chemical in the brain. Dopamine is associated with motor function, motivation, reward, and the brain’s pleasure centers."

Woolery also told radioiowa.com that "There should be a sense of urgency in Iowa and elsewhere to prevent meth use and deal with those who’ve become addicted."

If you or a family member are suffering from meth addiction, visit yourlifeiowa.org for resources, call 855-581-8111 or text 855-895-8398.

In Memoriam: Black Hawk County's Fallen Police Officers

Officers from each of Black Hawk County's law enforcement agencies gather every year to remember their fallen comrades. The annual ceremony is held each May in conjunction with National Peace Officers Memorial Week. Since 1902, 14 local officers -- all men -- have died in the line of duty while trying to protect the public. The group includes eight police officers from Waterloo, one from Cedar Falls, one from La Porte City, two Black Hawk County sheriff’s deputies, and two Iowa State Patrol troopers. They are gone, but not forgotten.

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Iowa has a state with a rich history and many fun facts, How many of these did you already know? Test your Iowa knowledge!