Hot Sheet

Garcia’s proposal to battle ‘opioid epidemic’ moves forward in Senate

Author: Dan Njegomir - February 9, 2017 - Updated: June 6, 2017

A state Senate committee gave all thumbs up Wednesday to a proposal to combat abuse of opioids like heroin, oxycodone and assorted other drugs, especially among youth.

Senate Bill 74 — introduced in the upper chamber by first-term Sen. Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat — would create a two-year pilot program under the auspices of the University of Colorado’s College of Nursing to expand access to “life-saving medication-assisted treatment.” The treatment involves both medication and behavioral therapy that the sponsor says have been proven to be clinically effective to reduce the need for inpatient detoxification services.

Garcia, quoted in a press statement from the Senate Democratic communications HQ, said:

“There are many stories I have heard about families and their loved ones that struggle with opioid addiction. In our community of Pueblo, this epidemic has particularly harmed our young people, and are tearing homes apart, but there just aren’t enough treatment options available. I know this bill is critical not just for Pueblo and Routt counties, but for all of Colorado, to expand access to treatment so we can take a modest, yet very important step in combatting the opioid epidemic.”

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee gave the legislation its unanimous, and thus, bipartisan endorsement. It now will get in line for funding in the Appropriations Committee.

 

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir

Dan Njegomir is the opinion editor for Colorado Politics. A longtime journalist and more-than-25-year veteran of the Colorado political scene, Njegomir has been an award-winning newspaper reporter, an editorial page editor, a senior legislative staffer at the State Capitol and a political consultant.