“Drug overdoses have become the leading cause of injury death and have more than tripled between 1999 and 2017. There were more than 70,000 confirmed drug overdose deaths in 2017.” 

  • Drug overdoses claim 174 U.S. lives daily, 115 from opioids. U.S. deaths = 1 every 12.5 minutes. Iowa deaths = 1 every 2.1 days.
  • IDPH says alcohol related deaths in Iowa remain high (616 deaths in 2018), and the rate of binge drinking in Iowa far exceeds the national average (22.6% vs. 16.2%).
  • In addition, larger quantities of purer meth smuggled into Iowa coincides with record levels of psychostimulant-related deaths, meth use disorder treatment admissions, and meth-related prison admissions. 
  • Psychostimulant-related deaths in Iowa, primarily involving meth, remained at their highest point in recent history for a second straight year (91 in 2018).
  • Over 10,200 Iowans were treated for meth use disorders in 2019, an all-time high. Among adults entering substance use disorder treatment last year, more cited meth as their primary drug than marijuana (24% vs. 22%)
  •  Vaping devices add another dimension, because of the more highly concentrated forms of nicotine and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) consumed in them, and the recent outbreak of severe lung illnesses, including 44 cases reported to date in Iowa.

Relapse is one of the biggest drawbacks for struggling addicts and substance abuse treatments. Our job at Hard to Love, is to weaken the risk of relapses and help clients achieve a life they strive for. For many, this feels like an impossible goal to achieve. We work together in a 12-week program that focuses on fitness and nutrition, which has been proven effective for recovery. Studies have shown that exercise has numerous psychological and physiological benefits in the recovery process. Exercise diminishes depressive symptoms, stress-reactivity, while simultaneously improves mood, physical self-worth, sleep, self-efficiency, and cognitive function. Exercise also promotes positive changes in neuroplasticity, the way your brain restructures or rewires itself. With this, we are able to rewire the brain out of unhealthy behaviors and patterns into healthier ones. 

A study of 16 drug dependent participants went through a 12 week intervention of aerobic exercise. The chart below shows their abstinence from alcohol before, in the course of, and after the 12 week intervention. Pretreatment was the 3 months leading up to the 12 week intervention. 

The study also accounted for drug abstinence during the same course of the 12 week intervention. 

According to (Brown et al., 2010) “Participants demonstrated a significant increase in percent days abstinent for both alcohol and drugs at the end of treatment, and those who attended at least 75% of the exercise sessions had significantly better substance use outcomes than those who did not.”

Who Can You Call?

SAMHSA National Helpline- 1-800-662-4357

SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

Odcp.iowa.gov. 2020. News Release – Iowa Drug Control Report: Life-Changing Progress Amid Evolving Threats | Governor’s Office Of Drug Control Policy. [online] Available at: <https://odcp.iowa.gov/news-release-iowa-drug-control-report-life-changing-progress-amid-evolving-threats>.

America’s Health Rankings. 2020. Explore Drug Deaths In Iowa | 2019 Annual Report. [online] Available at: <https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/Drugdeaths/state/IA> [Accessed 13 November 2020]. 

Brown, R. A., Abrantes, A. M., Read, J. P., Marcus, B. H., Jakicic, J., Strong, D. R., Oakley, J. R., Ramsey, S. E., Kahler, C. W., Stuart, G. G., Dubreuil, M. E., & Gordon, A. A. (2010). A Pilot Study of Aerobic Exercise as an Adjunctive Treatment for Drug Dependence. Mental health and physical activity, 3(1), 27–34. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhpa.2010.03.001