CongressHot Sheet

Colorado’s Scott Tipton works on triage for opioid-hit communities

Author: Kara Mason - March 8, 2018 - Updated: March 8, 2018

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Congressman Scott Tipton, right, R-Colo., speaks during a Congressional Western Congress hearing on forests health and wildfires in Denver on Thursday, May 2, 2013. Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., listens at left. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

Republican Rep. Scott Tipton announced Wednesday he’s co-signing legislation to help address the opioid epidemic in the U.S, as some of the communities in his district are among the hardest hit in his state.

He’s signing on to the ALTO Act — which would essentially allow hospitals to create programs to offer alternative treatment to opioids. Colorado has already ventured into what the act is proposing and has seen some solid success.

If passed, the legislation would “establish a demonstration program to test alternative pain management protocols to limit the use of opioids in hospital emergency departments. It would also provide grant funding to implement these programs,” according to Tipton’s office.

The Colorado Hospital Association is endorsing the legislation. It launched a pilot ALTO program last year and found that hospitals that took part in the program decreased the use of narcotics up to 46 percent.

“Opioid abuse in America is a multifaceted issue, however opioid addiction often stems from prescribed pain medication,” Tipton said in a news release “The ALTO program offers a unique solution to the opioid crisis by offering non-opioid pain treatments in emergency departments across several states, including Colorado. So far this program has had success across our state in considerably decreasing the use of narcotics, and I look forward to seeing this program implemented in more emergency departments across the nation.”

Tipton’s district has among the highest opioid drug overdoses in the state, and other levels of government are looking to tackle the problem. Huerfano County is suing pharmaceutical companies over the epidemic, and now Pueblo considering joining in, too.

Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for ColoradoPolitics.com. She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.