Iowa Alcohol and Drug Use Statistics
A 2017-2018 survey on alcohol and drug use statistics showed that Iowa ranked:1
37th in yearly heroin use.
17th in yearly pain reliever misuse.
10th in past-year binge drinking.
19th in past-year methamphetamine use.
In 2020, an estimated 8,000+ Iowans sought treatment for alcohol and drug use. The most common substances that Iowans misuse, as shown in a 2019 survey, are:1
Cost of Drug Rehab in Iowa
The cost of addiction treatment in Iowa depends on several factors, including:
Types of care (outpatient or inpatient)
Amenities and features offered by treatment facilities
Duration of treatment program (short-term, long-term, or detoxification)
Insurance provider coverage
Types of recovery support services
Location and size of treatment facility (city or rural)
It is common for inpatient services to cost more than outpatient services due to factors such as the cost of lodging, 24-hour practitioners, and other amenities. Insurance can cover some or all of your rehab costs, depending upon your insurance provider. When considering rehab, make sure to research all available payment options, including whether private insurance, Medicaid, and Medicare are accepted. Other alcohol and drug rehabs may offer sliding fee scales, which means that you pay what is affordable to you, based on your financial situation.
Where Can I Find Low-Cost and Free Rehabs in Iowa?
Alcohol and drug rehab centers in Iowa vary from private (for-profit or non-profit) to government-funded (local, state, federal, and tribal). About 60% of substance use treatment programs in Iowa receive public funds, which has helped make many low-cost and free rehab options available across the state for people with no insurance or no income. These facilities usually require that potential patients validate their residence within the state, substance use status, and absence of insurance and income.3
Apart from choosing a government-funded alcohol and drug rehab, there are some other ways you can access affordable alcohol and drug use treatments, such as:3
- Obtaining a referral from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Finding an alcohol and drug rehab that offers affordable financing or payment options
- Choosing a sliding fee scale at an alcohol and drug rehab
- Applying for scholarships from individual alcohol and drug rehabs
Does Insurance Cover Alcohol and Drug Rehab in Iowa?
Though cash or self-payment is the most popular payment option accepted by alcohol and drug rehabs, 90% accept private health insurance and Medicaid, 66% accept state-financed health insurance plans other than Medicaid, 49% accept federal military insurance, 36% accept Medicare, and a low percent accepts other forms of payment.
Medicaid provides low-income adults, children, pregnant people, elderly adults, and people with disabilities with medical coverage. Medicaid is state-run under federal requirements. The program is funded in unison by states and the federal government. Medicaid can be used to cover part or all of your alcohol and drug rehab treatment, depending on the facility and your eligibility.3
Medicare is a federally funded program providing healthcare coverage to individuals who are older than 65, under 65, and receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for a certain amount of time, or under 65 and with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Medicare can be used to cover part or all of your alcohol and drug rehab treatment, depending on the facility and your eligibility.3
Popular private health insurance providers for Iowa are Aetna, Amerigroup, Beacon, Blue Cross Blue Shield/Wellmark, Cigna, ComPsyc, Iowa Total Care, Nebraska Total Care, Nebraska UnitedHealthcare – Community, Nebraska BCBS Anthem, Sanford Health, UnitedHealthcare – Optum, and Unity Point. Private insurance can be used to cover part or all of your alcohol and drug rehab treatment, depending on the facility and your eligibility.2
Levels of Addiction Treatment in Iowa
Detox is often the first step on the addiction treatment continuum of care. It is not a substitute for comprehensive substance abuse treatment—rather, it is a short-term intervention to help manage withdrawal symptoms, keep you safe and comfortable while substances leave your body, and prepare you for rehab.
Outpatient care may be recommended for individuals with a less severe alcohol and substance use disorder, who have a social support system, live in a stable living situation, and have good physical health. These outpatient options include the following:3
- Standard:: The least intensive option, providing a few hours of care per week
- Intensive: A step up from standard, providing up to 20 hours of therapy per week
- Day treatment/partial hospitalization: The most intensive option, providing up to 30 hours of counseling per week in a hospital setting
Inpatient Rehab Centers
Inpatient care may be recommended for individuals with a severe disorder, limited social support, an unstable living situation, or another health condition and includes options such as:3
- Residential (non-hospital)
Residential (non-hospital) care accounts for 16% of the alcohol and drug rehabs in Iowa and is categorized by length of stay, such as short-term, long-term, or detoxification. Hospital inpatient care accounts for 5% of the alcohol and drug rehabs in Iowa, falling under treatment and detoxification.
Inpatient treatment utilizes an intensive curriculum to help patients delve into their substance use disorder and its effect on their personal life, family life, and professional life. They offer special group sessions on topics like how to manage stress, how to make decisions, how to communicate, and how to deal with your anger. Some facilities are only for special groups like women (with or without) children or pregnant people. Some facilities provide lodging for families or on-site childcare or children’s programming.3
Upon arrival at an inpatient care facility, you will complete the necessary paperwork. You will undergo a search of your person and your property for unapproved items like drugs, alcohol, weapons, etc. A professional will conduct an assessment to obtain relevant information to determine your course of treatment. The assessment will cover information such as:3
- The substance(s) you use
- Your personal history of substance use
- Your family history of substance use
- Your mental and physical health
- The method of administration
- Your history of withdrawal
- Your treatment history
They will then use this information to create an individualized treatment plan including classes, support groups, therapy, medication, and more.
Once you complete an addiction treatment program, you need to continue receiving ongoing support and relapse prevention services, such as:
- Support group meetings
- Individual therapy
- Group counseling
- Family therapy
- Step-down care
- Sober living homes
Types of Drug and Alcohol Rehabs in Iowa
There are over 180 licensed Iowa alcohol rehabs and drug rehabs that are recognized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Joint Commission. Many alcohol and drug rehabs treat adolescents, young adults, adults, and older adults.3
There are a select few faith-based alcohol and drug use rehab treatment centers in Iowa. These facilities integrate spiritual practices into treatment for those who want to prioritize their religious beliefs throughout recovery.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Many people with an addiction also have a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Co-occurring disorders, commonly known as dual diagnosis, require comprehensive and integrated care that fully addresses the unique challenges of each disorder.4
Holistic drug rehabs usually focus on the whole person, treating the mind and body simultaneously and offering techniques to address both the patient’s emotional and physical needs.
Luxury residential rehabs include upscale settings, more like a resort, and luxury features like spa therapy and massages.
Executive inpatient treatment centers often have luxury settings and are designed for high-powered professionals to continue working while recovering from an addiction.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) uses medicines, along with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to treating substance use disorders. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized select medications to treat alcohol or opioid addiction. These medications alleviate the withdrawal symptoms and emotional cravings that trigger chemical imbalances in the body.4
Currently, 30% of Iowa alcohol and drug use rehabs offer MAT. MAT providers currently provide services in the following four Iowa counties with the highest need for persons with identified opioid use disorders:4
- Polk (United Community Services)
- Woodbury (Jackson Recovery Centers)
- Linn (Area Substance Abuse Council)
- Dubuque (Mercy Turning Point)
Obtaining Methadone at a Methadone Center:
Methadone is prescribed to treat opioid use disorder (OUD). It is one component of a complete treatment plan, which includes counseling and other behavioral health therapies to provide patients with a whole-person approach. It’s a long-acting, full opioid agonist and is classified as a schedule II-controlled drug. You take it daily, as a liquid, powder, or in diskette form. A practitioner must supervise the administration of methadone to treat OUD. After a period, patients may be allowed to take methadone at home between program visits.5
Finding Suboxone Doctors:
Suboxone (the brand name) is a drug combination of buprenorphine and naloxone used to terat opioid addiction. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, while naloxone is an opioid antagonist that binds to opioid receptors and reverses/blocks the effects of other opioids (i.e., heroin, morphine, and oxycodone).
Unlike methadone, which can only be obtained at a methadone clinic, Suboxone can be prescribed by qualified doctors, allowing for easier access to those who need it.
Naltrexone for Alcohol or Opioid Addiction:
Naltrexone, which is prescribed to treat alcohol and opioid addiction, is an opioid antagonist that blocks the rewarding effects of alcohol and opioids, allowing people to more easily quit. The tablet form is used to treat AUD while the extended-release injectable is often used for OUD. Naltrexone treatment usually lasts for 3 to 4 months and you can get a prescription from your doctor.4
Antabuse (Disulfiram) for Alcohol Addiction:
Antabuse (disulfiram) is used to help battle your alcohol addiction. Antabuse is not a cure, but it will discourage you from drinking because of the unpleasant effects it causes if you mix it with alcohol. Antabuse, which is available in tablet form and taken daily, is dispensed by prescription only. It should never be taken while intoxicated and should not be taken for at least 12 hours after consuming alcohol.4
Acamprosate for Alcohol Use Disorder:
Acamprosate is used for those combating alcohol use disorder. Normally, acamprosate administration will begin on day five post-no alcohol, attaining full effectiveness in 5 to 8 days. It is offered in tablet form to be taken three times per day at the same time. Common side effects are upset stomach, diarrhea appetite loss, dizziness, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.4
Should I Travel to Iowa for Alcohol and Drug Treatment?
Iowa offers many options for alcohol and drug rehabs across the state. Reasons for considering attending a rehab outside of your immediate home area:2
- You prefer the area in Iowa
- You have family or social support in Iowa
- You want a change of scenery
- You like the features, amenities, and treatment approach of an Iowa facility
- There are no quality treatment centers in your area
Regions to Consider When Choosing an Iowa Drug Rehab
To find neighborhoods in Iowa, visit the Travel Iowa webpage and search by area.
- Northwest: Home to King’s Pointe Waterpark and Resort in Storm Lake
- North Central: Hop aboard a double-deck sternwheeler at Clear Lake
- Northeast: Enjoy panoramic views of the Upper Mississippi River from Pikes Peak and Effigy Mounds
- West Central: Wander over the gentle peaks and valleys in Onawa’s Lewis and Clark State Park
- Central: Enjoy the arts, entertainment, and fine dining of Iowa’s capital city, Des Moines
- East Central: Experience Cedar Rapids’ rich Czech and Slovak culture
- East: Learn about the ecosystem of the largest river in the U.S. at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
- Southwest: Explore the beautiful Wabash Trace Nature Trail
- South Central: Relax at two of Iowa’s premier lakes, Lake Red Rock and Lake Rathbun
- Southeast: Indulge at the acclaimed health center and spa in Fairfield’s Maharishi Vedic City
Drug and Alcohol Laws in Iowa
Iowa Good Samaritan Law: The Good Samaritan Law encourages witnesses (or overdose reporters) to a drug overdose to stay and call 911 instead of running out of fear of prosecution. Normally overdose reporters (making a good faith effort) “will not be arrested, charged or prosecuted for possession of a controlled substance, delivery of a controlled substance or possession of drug paraphernalia under the law.”5
Code of Iowa Chapter 321J.17: If you operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, you are breaking the law. Iowa Code 321J outlines the sanctions that can be imposed on offenders. Anyone who offends in Iowa or an Iowa driver who offends in another state is required to complete a substance abuse evaluation to be performed by a state-licensed evaluator/facility.5
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA): Substance use disorder, “including an addiction to opioids, is a disability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, when drug addiction substantially limits a major life activity.”6
Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act of 2021 – Section 1046: The Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment (Act of 2021) expanded access to substance use treatment in jails and prisons and assisted individuals exiting correctional facilities to continue treatment in the community. The bill allows programs to adopt and use approved medication-assisted treatment and requires that program staff be trained on the science of addiction, programs are affiliated with providers who can administer medications for addiction treatment after incarceration, and allows grantees to use funds to offer treatment during short periods of incarceration.7
- Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy. (2021). Drug Trends in Iowa Evolving Health, Safety & Response Issues.
- Iowa Department of Public Health. (2022). Your Life Iowa.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2019). National Survey of Drug Use and Health
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2022, March 4). MAT Medications, Counseling, and Related Conditions.
- The Iowa Legislature. (2018). Iowa Code Section 124.418 – Good Samaritan Law.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018, October 25). Fact Sheet: Drug Addiction and Federal Disability Rights Law.
- US Congress – 117th. (2021). 1046 – Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act of 2021.