The nation’s drug epidemic kills someone in Colorado about every 9 hours and 36 minutes, a fact that rings like a siren for state leaders who are combating the leading driver: prescription and illicit opioids.
A bipartisan panel of lawmakers last week supported a package of six wide-ranging bills designed to prevent and treat the state’s drug overdose crisis, building on five years of work from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration to identify holes in the current system.
The approach — which, according to experts, puts Colorado in the top tier among states nationwide for its response — was boosted by a $35 million infusion from the federal government to test solutions to what President Donald Trump labeled a national public health emergency.
Here’s a look at what Colorado is doing — and not doing — to address the opioid epidemic.
Colorado’s response to the rising rates of opioid-related overdoses began in 2012 when the governor ordered a plan to combat prescription drug abuse and later formalized the state’s effort with the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention.
Now, five years later, the state is spending $1 million to create a drug-abuse research center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora that will focus on expanding prevention, treatment and recovery initiatives.
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