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Operational Scan




Governor's Office of Drug Control Policy

Dale Woolery, Director

Mission Statement:
To serve as a leader and a catalyst for improving the health and safety of all Iowans by promoting strategic approaches and collaboration to reduce drug use and related crime.

Iowa Overdose Deaths Involving All Drugs
Meth as primary drug involved in drug prison admissions
Iowa meth lab incidents
Meth labs seized by county
Rx Take Back Day
Presence of illegal drugs in a child's body
Iowa Drug Endangered Children referred by drug task forces
Percent of 11th grade students reporting current drug use


  • Download PDF document Performance Plan - How we measure our progress

  •  Strategic Plan - How we plan for progress

  • Download PDF document Performance Report - How we report our progress

  • Department Home Page - Learn more about this department



Highlighted Measure:

Iowa Overdose Deaths Involving all Drugs

Data Source: Department of Public Health, Bureau of Health Statistics

Updated 07/15/2021




Highlighted Measure:

Methamphetamine as the primary drug involved in prison admissions.

Data Source: Department of Public Safety, Division of Narcotics Enforcement.

Updated 12/17/2020

Highlighted Measure:

Map of reported meth lab incidents statewide.

Data Source: Iowa Department of Public Safety, Division of Narcotics Enforcement

Updated 07/15/2021


Highlighted Measure:

Meth and Prison Admissions

Data Source: Department of Human Rights, Criminal & Juvenile Justice Planning.


Updated 07/15/2021




Highlighted Measure:

Rx Take back Day

Data Source: Drug Enforcement Administration

NOTE: There was only one National Take Back Day event in 2020 due to the Pandemic vs. two in a normal year

Updated 07/15/2021




Mitigating Iowans' Health and Public Safety Risks Associated with Illegal Drug Use

GRAPH - Meth Lab Incident

GRAPH - Meth Lab Incident

GRAPH - Meth Lab Incidents

GRAPH - Meth Labs Seized by County

For larger image, click 2020 Clandestine Laboratories Seized
To compare with 2019, click 2019 Clandestine Laboratories Seized

GRAPH - Rx Take Back Day

Why this is important:
Too often, and many times hidden from public view, susceptible children are victims of illegal drug use, manufacturing and distribution. Youth who live in drug environments, and whose guardians use drugs, may be subject to physical and verbal abuse, as well as neglect. These children may face short and long term consequences that negatively impact their lives today and in the future.

The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) reports on three measures of abuse that specifically relate to parent/caregiver involvement with drugs. The first of the indicators is the number of confirmed or founded child abuse cases resulting from the presence of illegal drugs in a child's body. The second involves cases resulting from a parent/caregiver manufacturing a dangerous drug in the presence of a child. 

Effective July 1, 2017, a third category called Dangerous Substances was added. “Dangerous Substances” include amphetamine, meth, cocaine, heroin, opium, and opiates. This change allows DHS intake workers to automatically assign a case to Child Abuse Assessment rather than Family Assessment. In these cases, it is alleged a caregiver uses or possesses cocaine, heroin, opiates, or meth/amphetamines in the presence of a child or knowingly allows such activity by another person in the presence of a child. In the six months of CY2017 this change was in place, there were 1,992 cases confirmed or founded. CY 2020 had 4,366 founded cases of child abuse related to dangerous substances, and 1,508 cases in which a child tested positive for the presence of an illegal drug in their system.

What we're doing about this:
To combat the in-state production, trafficking, use and other ramifications from illicit drug activity, ODCP provides federal grant support to an array of local and state level drug prevention, treatment and enforcement projects. Much of Iowa's substance use disorder treatment services that are in demand are supported by the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Medicaid and others.

Multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement task forces work together to protect Iowans, intercepting large volumes of dangerous drugs and weapons. In State fiscal year 2021, these task forces seized 2,079 pounds of illegal drugs, disrupted or dismantled 225 drug trafficking organizations, confiscated 1,294 firearms and referred 180 children to DHS for care. 

Drug task force efforts also result in thousands of Iowans being referred to treatment, either through the criminal justice system or in lieu of it. Enforcement, regulatory and other efforts backed by ODCP also helped to reduce the number of meth labs in Iowa to 8 in 2020, their lowest level in more than 20 years. 

The Iowa Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (DEC) was formed during the height of localized meth lab activity. Initiated by ODCP, Iowa DEC was started to protect innocent children from abuse often associated with illegal drug activity. DEC also serves to help coordinate resources of the public health, private health care, human service and criminal justice systems, to safeguard Iowa children and hold those responsible for drug endangerment accountable. Additionally, DEC partners may assist families obtain substance use disorder treatment.



Highlighted Measure:

Child Abuse Cases Involving Presence of Illegal Drugs in Child's Body

Data Source: Department of Human Services; Prevent Child Abuse Iowa


Updated 07/15/2021

Highlighted Measure:

Drug Endangered Children referred by Drug Task Forces

Data Source: Office of Drug Control Policy

Updated 07/15/2021


Highlighted Measure:
Grade 11 Students Reporting Current use of Alcohol, Tobacco and Marijuana

Data Source: Department of Public Health, Iowa Youth Survey

NOTE: This survey is conducted bi-annually. The 2020 survey was delayed by the pandemic. We anticipate it will be conducted in the fall of 2021 and there should be updates summer of 2022.   

Updated August 2019

Keeping Iowa's Children Safe from Substance Abuse

GRAPH - Presence of Illegal Drugs in a Child's Body

GRAPH - Drug Endangered Children

GRAPH - Percent of 11th Grade Students Reporting Current Drug Use


Why this is important:
According to federal reports, Iowa fares better than most other states in rates of total illicit drug use and overdose deaths.  Still, Iowans use some controlled substances at levels exceeding the national average (e.g., methamphetamine), and the misuse of other substances is on the rise (e.g., opioids).  Tragically in Iowa, as in nearly all of the U.S. and exacerbated by effects of the pandemic, opioid and stimulant related overdoses are resulting in reports of more overdose deaths.

Substance use issues are changing at a rapid pace, led by increasingly potent--and lethal--drugs and drug mixtures. Other facts include a growing number of drug products and delivery mechanisms.  

What we're doing about this:
In response to evolving challenges, Iowa continues to update its comprehensive drug control strategy and strengthen drug prevention, treatment and enforcement efforts.

Areas of emphasis focusing on timely access to treatment services for lower risk individuals with substance use disorders include: law enforcement assisted diversion to treatment; other alternatives to incarceration; offender reentry; remote offender supervision; and tele-treatment.  

Also, there is increased utilization of tools to prevent opioid, stimulant and other drug misuse and respond to overdoses (e.g., Prescription Monitoring Program; Good Samaritan 911 Law; Peer Recovery Coaches; Naloxone to reverse overdoses; Prescription Drug Take Backs; Medication Assisted Treatment; co-occurring disorder treatment; problem-solving courts; meth precursor regulations; and enhanced opioid and meth interdiction to disrupt illicit drug trafficking and supply lines.



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