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Iowa Legal Update Lesson Summaries

2020 Lesson 03: Substance Use, Behavior, & Medical Emergencies - Part 1

Interpersonal/Mental Health

Release Date:


This is Part 1 of a three-part online interpersonal perspectives course on Substance Use, Behavior, and Medical Emergencies.

Section one addresses the importance of law enforcement officials understanding their duty of care when in contact with people using substances or who may be experiencing a medical emergency. It examines the two situations under which the Fourteenth Amendment imposes an affirmative duty on police to protect or care for private citizens: 1) In custodial and other settings in which the state has limited the individuals' ability to care for themselves; and 2) When the state affirmatively places a particular individual in a position of danger the individual would not otherwise have faced. The lesson also provides examples of cases illustrating these concepts.

Section two addresses substance use. It explains general indicators of intoxication, substance use disorders, drug overdose, withdrawal, and drug-related medical emergencies. It goes on to explain the specific health and behavioral effects of specific drugs, including: alcohol; tobacco; marijuana; stimulants (including methamphetamine and cocaine); hallucinogens; MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly); and opioids (including prescription opioids and heroin).

Section three addresses law enforcement officers responding to substance users. It provides details on crisis-intervention guidelines.

The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy has reviewed the 2020 PLS Substance Use, Behavior, & Medical Emergencies – Part 1 online lesson and found that it meets the criteria for annual in-service mental health training as outlined in Iowa Administrative Code r. 501-8.1(4). This lesson is intended to take one hour to complete and focuses on substance use as a subset of issues involved in mental health.

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