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6 bills to combat prescription opioid and heroin epidemic in Colorado

6 bills to combat prescription opioid and heroin epidemic in Colorado

The opioid epidemic that is only worsening across the country kills someone in Colorado about every 9 hours and 36 minutes. Drug overdose deaths in the state has more than doubled since 2000 with 16.1 per 100,000 residents in 2016. According to state health officials, the last five years have seen a three-time increase in the rate of prescription opioids-involved deaths and five times increase in fatal overdoses related to heroin.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, in 2016, a total of 912 people died of drug overdoses, out of which 300 were linked to opioid overdoses. A preliminary assessment by heroin Response Work Group revealed that there has been a two times increase in heroin-related deaths in Colorado with 2015 witnessing 160 fatalities. The state also witnessed an increase in heroin-related emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalization rates.

Limit on prescriptions, supervised facility and more

As part of its ongoing response to the growing opioid epidemic, Colorado is spending $1 million to create a drug-abuse research center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, and focus on preventive treatment and recovery initiatives. Colorado’s Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee, a bipartisan panel of Colorado lawmakers, endorsed a package of six wide-ranging bills on Oct. 31, 2017 to tackle the problem.

The six bills that won the approval include the following:

  • Allow Denver to create a supervised injection facility for drug users
  • Impose a seven-day limit on certain opioid prescriptions except in cases involving chronic pain and cancer patients and
  • Federal waiver allowing Medicaid to cover residential rehab for opioid addiction.

In addition to the new proposals, the package would let the committee continue its work for two years and allow the experts to explore additional recommendations to curb the growing opioid epidemic, including tougher criminal penalties for certain drug offenses.

Supervised injection sites: Unconventional approach

Considered to be an unconventional approach to tackle the problem, supervised injection sites have proved to be successful in preventing unsafe techniques and drug overdoses. It helps in providing information about harmful effects, giving access to medical staff and health care facilities, counseling and reducing public disorders (improper syringe disposal) associated with illicit drug use. Since these facilities are professionally supervised, they allow drug users to consume drugs under safer conditions. Useful in reducing HIV and other transmission-related diseases, these sites provide its users with sterile injection equipment, help prevent overdose deaths and also increase the number of people entering the drug treatment facilities. A supervised injection site would also mean fewer people using drugs in the alleys or overdosing in public bathroom stalls.

Road to recovery

Opioids are a class of drugs, including synthetic opioids like fentanyl, illegal drugs like heroin and prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine. They target specific opioid receptors in the body located in the brain stem, limbic system and the spinal cord. Since opioids reduce pain and provide relief quick, people using them face the risk of getting dependent on them or getting addicted.

Opioid addiction affects not just individuals, but also their families. It’s extremely challenging to overcome the habit and lead a sober life. If abstinence seems like a difficult path, we can help you. A leading drug addiction treatment provider, Sovereign Health specializes in providing evidence-based substance abuse treatment to help you or your loved one get your life back on track.

For those looking for effective treatment for heroin addiction in California or looking for reputed heroin rehab centers in California, call our 24/7 helpline 855-683-9756 and get in touch with a specialist today. These centers are equipped with all the resources to help a person gain sobriety in a safe and serene environment. You can even chat online with one of our representatives for further assistance.