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Rep. Brittany Pettersen
(9to5 Colorado via Facebook)
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Pettersen tells CPR painful story of mother’s drug addiction

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The indispensable Vic Vela of Colorado Public Radio has a story about potential legislation to force drugmakers to help provide treatment programs in Colorado. His source is someone who knows the high cost of addiction.

Rep. Brittany Pettersen opened up to Vela about the toll her mother’s drug addiction took.

The full story is here.

Vela wrote:

“It’s devastating,” she went on to say, fighting back tears. “I remember as a kid, how much I loved my mom. And there was one day when she fell off a cliff and she has never come back.”

When doctors stopped prescribing her opioid painkillers, Pettersen’s mother started using heroin.

“The problem here is when you cut addicts off, they are going to find another way to meet their needs,” Pettersen said. “And so my mom, and so many Coloradans, have turned to doing heroin.”

Pettersen hasn’t introduced the drug treatment bill yet. It’s certain to get push back from the pharmaceutical industry. The legislation is likely to pass the Democrat-led House, but it has dim prospects against the Republican majority in the Senate.

Last May Pettersen spoke of her brother who committed suicide as she urged passage Senate Bill 147, which Pettersen co-sponsored.

“I often wonder if the people working with my brother had known how to help him, if he would be here today,” she said during testimony for the bill.

Vela points out that Petterson is currently co-sponsoring Senate Bill 193 to fund addiction research at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

Pettersen has a compelling personal story and a ever-strengthening political reuse. She has sponsored Democrat-friendly bills about education and women and family rights the last two sessions.

Her legislative efforts could translate into campaign issues for the Lakewood Democrat if she runs for Ed Perlmutter’s congressional seat next year, pending Perlmutter’s decision to run for governor.

She and Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, are the two most often named Democrats who would try to keep the less-than-certain congressional seat in Democratic hands.

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