Dr. Andy McGuire: “We cannot wait any longer to get back on track in working to end these epidemics that are destroying our families and communities. This plan will be a starting point in that journey, and I hope you’ll join me in working together to save lives.”

Des Moines, IA – Dr. Andy McGuire, a medical doctor and 2018 Democratic candidate for Governor, released today her seven-point plan to combat Iowa’s mental health, substance abuse and addiction epidemics.

“Ensuring that Iowans have an opportunity to stay healthy and happy is an important responsibility of any Governor. For almost eight years, as Lt. Gov. and now as Gov., Kim Reynolds has failed to adequately address our state’s worsening mental health crisis,” said Dr. Andy McGuire. “I’ve traveled to all 99 counties, and families are in crisis. As Governor, I will not let up. Mental health and substance abuse will be a cornerstone of my administration. There are too many Iowans suffering, and we are losing our children.

“As a physician, Andy brings a background and expertise that allows her to understand the complexities of mental health and substance abuse more than any other candidate,” said former Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. “Andy created a sound, policy plan on mental health epidemics the current administration has ignored for far too long. I applaud Andy for taking the initiative and coming up with a plan. That’s the kind of person she is and the kind of governor Dr. Andy McGuire will be. When she sees a problem, she wants to be the solution.”

Dr. McGuire’s plan includes a seven-point strategy that addresses both short and long-term care for children and adults and funding for various improvements and programs.

  1. Increase treatment capacity and ensure Iowans have sufficient treatment options

  2. Attract and retain more mental health providers

  3. Expand and emphasize support for children and teenagers

  4. Remove the stigma from mental illness and substance abuse and addiction

  5. Create a new statewide Office of Mental Health and Addiction Policy

  6. Go after the drugmakers who created the opioid epidemic and hold them accountable

  7. Secure and protect key funding sources to combat the mental health, substance abuse, and addiction crises

For the past seven months, McGuire has crisscrossed the state and spoken with members of law enforcement, physicians and hospital staff, policymakers, counselors and patients and their families. As a medical doctor, Dr. McGuire understands that mental illness and substance abuse are diseases, and one of her first goals is working to remove the stigma attached to patients who suffer from these illnesses. The comprehensive plan is available for download here.

First and foremost, the McGuire plan recognizes the need to have adequate community resources in every corner of the state for all ages. Her statewide strategy also includes preventive care to recognize the warning signs before people get into a crisis. Her goal is to get people the correct treatment they need before they end up in jails or emergency rooms.

McGuire also recognizes the cause and effect relationship of mental illness and substance abuse and addiction. Iowa desperately needs counselors and mental health professionals who are trained in both mental illness and substance abuse in order to provide patients with the best treatment possible.

Tuesday, December 5th, Dr. McGuire will take part in a mental health substance abuse forum sponsored by the Des Moines Register, Des Moines University and the Iowa Hospital Association. Gov. Kim Reynolds will not participate in the forum, citing a scheduling conflict.