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Press Release

Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative Recognized For Innovation

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa

Today, in a ceremony held at the Embassy Club in Des Moines, the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative was recognized for developing innovative solutions to combat the opioid epidemic.  The Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative is funded by the Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and is a joint venture of the United States Attorney’s Office and the Cedar Rapids Police Department.  The Initiative was formed in 2015 to combat the rise of opioid overdose and death in Iowa by using a three‑part strategy of enforcement, prevention, and treatment. 

The award was given by the Addiction Policy Forum, which is a nationwide nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating addiction as a major health problem.  The Addiction Policy Forum is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with resources and services in every state. The Addiction Policy Forum’s Innovation Now forum at contains numerous state studies of innovative programs developed to address the opioid crisis.   

“Through innovative strategies like the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative, we can reduce overdose injuries and deaths in Iowa while bringing drug dealers to justice,” said United States Attorney Peter Deegan.  “I credit the Cedar Rapids Police Department and the members of my office whose hard work has made this Initiative successful.”

Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman said, “Deaths from opioid-related symptoms reached a 10-year low last year in Iowa.  The innovative efforts of the Cedar Rapids Police Department, United States Attorney’s Office for Northern District of Iowa, and Midwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area to develop one of only two comprehensive opioid awareness and outreach programs in the country is impactful.  By continuing to work with other organizations in the community, we hope to see the number of victims of overdose continue to decline.”

Since 2015, the Eastern Iowa Heroin Initiative has conducted numerous town hall events to raise community awareness, training events for first responders to correctly handle an overdose scene and conduct a responsive investigation, naloxone (Narcan) administration training, training to medical professionals, and training to drug treatment and prevention specialists. As part of the enforcement efforts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has prosecuted over 100 defendants for various felony-level opioid charges since October 2015 throughout the district.  These prosecutions involved trafficking in opioids, including heroin, fentanyl and other dangerous drugs.  Many of the cases involved drug distributions that resulted in overdose death or injury.  

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Updated October 4, 2021

Drug Trafficking