The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention coordinates Colorado’s response to the misuse of medications such as opioids, stimulants, and sedatives. The Consortium’s mission is to reduce prescription drug misuse and abuse in Colorado by developing policies, programs, and partnerships with the many state agencies, organizations, and community coalitions addressing one of the Colorado’s major public health crises.
The Consortium is supported by and located at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Our external relations staff live and work in local communities representing four regions of the state, allowing us to best facilitate a statewide approach.
Since its formation in 2013, the Consortium has worked with state and federal agencies, as well as task forces, nonprofit organizations, health care providers, public health officials, and other groups that address the opioid epidemic. Together, this inclusive group has and continues to work toward improving education, public awareness, research, safe disposal, harm reduction, treatment, and recovery across the state.
Examples of work include the Take Meds Seriously and Take Meds Back public awareness campaigns, educational brochures and posters, community forums, and numerous educational events for health care providers. In 2017, the Consortium created a Community Reference Guide, which was updated again in 2019. This toolkit is a great resource for partners to help guide or supplement their work. In 2019, the Consortium’s Recovery Workgroup participated in a combined effort with the Office of Behavioral Health, Colorado Health Institute and Mental Health Colorado to create Colorado’s Statewide Strategic Plan for Substance Use Disorder Recovery: 2020-2025.
The Consortium also provides expertise to policymakers about legislation and programming that can be implemented to address the crisis.
For many years, the Consortium’s predecessor, the Colorado Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, worked to educate providers about the problems of opioid abuse, diversion, and doctor shopping. In 2012, as the opioid crisis grew in scope and impact, Gov. John Hickenlooper convened experts from across the state to create the Colorado Plan to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse.
To promote a collaborative, interagency, and interprofessional response to the crisis, Gov. Hickenlooper established the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, an innovative model based on the Collective Impact approach. The Consortium was initially funded by a $1 million budget from former Attorney General John Suthers and launched in the summer of 2013 to implement the state’s strategic plan.
The Consortium now has a staff of 13 that’s dedicated to helping Colorado end the opioid epidemic. Staff works with partners and stakeholders at all levels of government and from across the four corners of the state.
Ten work groups determine and execute the Consortium’s strategy. Each work group is co-chaired by volunteers from our partner agencies and community organizations.
COMMUNITY COALITION PARTNERS
The Consortium works with more than a dozen local and regional coalitions to support their community-based work, including, but not limited to:
- Tri-County Overdose Prevention Partnership
- Boulder County Substance Use Advisory Group
- North Colorado Health Alliance
- Pueblo Substance Use & Response Ecosystem
- El Paso County Coalition for Prevention, Addiction Education, and Recovery
- Area Health Education Centers: San Luis Valley, Central, Centennial, Southeast, Southwest, and Western
- Denver Youth Prevention Services
In May 2017, the State of Colorado approved the creation of the Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. The center is dedicated to substance abuse research and prevention at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. The new center received $1 million from the state and will be part of the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
The center will provide additional resources to the Consortium as it works along with its partners to coordinate and support Colorado’s response to the opioid epidemic.