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Coalition Address Nation's Opioid Crisis in Mason City

March 23, 2018 08:03 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- The opioid epidemic is affecting more people than those who are addicted to the drug.

And because of those issues, The Iowa Harm Reduction Coalition held a meeting in Mason City for northern Iowa.  

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Sue Ringleb from Algona, Iowa traveled an hour just to make it.

"I literally wouldn't be able to leave my house if I did not have the prescriptions I have," said Sue.

She says she is worried the opioid crisis will lead to her pain medicine getting taken away.

It’s only one of the issues discussed at Friday’s meeting.  

Sen. Amanda Ragan with Mason City says the joint conversation is necessary.

"I’m part of the discussion because as we've seen all across the country that there are opportunities to legislate and to make some of the opportunities reduce the use and the availability,” said Amanda.

State lawmakers, law enforcement, medical experts and community leaders were all part of discussions.

That’s including Mason City Police Capt. Mike McKelvey who says "Just trying to bring up people's awareness and support. It's a community problem. It's not just law enforcement's battle. It's not a family situation. It takes a community to make a difference in some of these people's lives."

Sue says she gets what they are getting at but she wants everyone to look at the bigger picture.

"I’m worried that the government is going to severely limit what I get out of a misguided sense of curing addiction,” said Sue.

And Sen. Amanda says that exactly why they are having these joint conversations, "Is how do you balance all of those things? If there were a silver bullet, everybody would be having that answer right now. And that's why this kind of situation where you have people talking about the real need."

In the end, it could keep people like Sue from going without her medication and instead allow her to focus on being a voice for others.

"I will do everything I can to keep somebody else alive,” said Sue. 

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Roxanne Elias

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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