Money coming to Routt County to fight opioid epidemic | SteamboatToday.com

Money coming to Routt County to fight opioid epidemic

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed a bill that dedicates $1 million to help fight the opioid epidemic in Routt and Pueblo counties.

Senate Bill 74 won unanimous support in both the House and Senate. The funding comes from recreational marijuana taxes collected by the state.

The $1 million will be distributed over two years.

The funds will be allocated by the University of Colorado College of Nursing in the form of grants to community and office-based practices, behavioral health organizations and substance abuse treatment organizations.

The program is aimed at having an impact in communities hit hardest by the opioid epidemic.

Pueblo has 6 percent of the state's population but accounts for 18 percent of admissions for heroin treatment, according to the legislation.

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In Routt, drug overdose death rates have increased six-fold from 2014 to 2016. More than 65 percent of the deaths were related to prescription opioids.

Ken Davis, co-founder of the Task Force, envisions the funding could be used as start-up money for a clinic that specializes in drug treatment as well as support for counseling.

He also would like to see money be available for people who cannot afford treatment.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland