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4th Annual Education Symposium

Fentanyl in Colorado and the U.S.: Current Trends and Perspectives

This year, the Consortium partnered with the Colorado Society of Addiction Medicine to host the 4th annual provider education symposium. Colleagues in medicine, public health, pharmacy, community coalitions, law enforcement, and others from across Colorado explored the fentanyl crisis in Colorado and beyond. Local and national experts discussed issues related to fentanyl, including fentanyl testing, harm reduction, and the impact on BIPOC populations.

Recording and Agenda

A recording of the full video is embedded below. Due to the video’s length, we recommend you watch the video in Vimeo, where the links in the caption can help you skip to the presentation you are interested in. The start times for each section also are in the tabs below.

Expand the tabs below for information about presenters and learning objectives, and you can download the symposium’s agenda.


Josh Blum, MD, Director, Center for Addiction Medicine at Denver Health and Co-Chair, Consortium Provider Education Work Group


Barbara Gabella, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment


Daniel Ciccarone, MD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco

Learning Objectives

1. Recognize the four waves of the overdose crisis and the impact of the COVID pandemic

2. Inform harm reduction strategies by utilizing qualitative knowledge gained from interviewing individuals who use drugs

3. Discuss overdose racial disparities

4. Discuss potential new treatment strategies for fentanyl-involved Opioid Use Disorder and Poly Substance Use Disorder

About the Presenter

Dr. Dan Ciccarone is a board certified clinician in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine. In his position as Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF he has been principal or co-investigator on numerous NIH sponsored public health research projects including his current Heroin in Transition study. He is a recognized international scholar on the medical, public health and public policy dimensions of substance use, risk and consequences. He is Associate Editor for the International Journal of Drug Policy and recently edited an IJDP special issue on the “triple wave crisis” of opioids, heroin and fentanyl in the US.


Helena Hansen, MD, PhD, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

Learning Objectives

1. Discuss current trends in the opioid crisis, with particular emphasis on current fentanyl trends and shifts in demographic data

2. Consider why overdoses among BIPOC populations have increased in recent years

3. Define structural competency

4. Provide practical skills for creating a safe and stigma-free healthcare environment, specifically regarding BIPOC populations and with an emphasis on treating substance use disorders

About the Presenter

Helena Hansen, an MD, PhD psychiatrist-anthropologist, is Professor and Chair of Research Theme in Translational Social Science and Health Equity, as well as Associate Director of the Center for Social Medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. She has published widely in clinical and social science journals ranging from JAMA to NEJM to Social Science and Medicine and Medical Anthropology, on faith and healing of addiction in Puerto Rico, psychiatric disability under welfare reform, opioids and race, ethnic marketing of pharmaceuticals, and structural competency.


Darren Schwindt, Drug Enforcement Agency
Frank Fredericks, Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area

Learning Objectives

1. Discuss national and Colorado-specific trends related to illicit fentanyl trafficking

2. Summarize enforcement strategies and recent successes.

3. Discuss opportunities and strategies for community engagement concerning issues related to fentanyl


Phillip Coffin, MD, MIA, Center on Substance Use and Health, San Francisco Department of Public Health

Learning Objectives

1. Recognize the differences between fentanyl and prior opioid crises

2. Advocate for existing and novel harm reduction strategies to respond to the opioid crisis

3. Implement best practices for overdose prevention

About the Presenter

Phillip O. Coffin, M.D., M.I.A., F.A.C.P., is the Director of Substance Use Research at the San Francisco Department of Public Health. He is board-certified in internal medicine, infectious diseases, and addiction medicine; specific foci of Dr. Coffin’s training include general infectious diseaes, HIV and viral hepatitis, buprenorphine maintenance, addiction management, and drug poisoning. As Director, Dr. Coffin oversees several pharmacologic and behavioral trials that aim to reduce substance use and related risk behaviors for blood-borne virus infection, as well as related observational studies. Since the early 1990s, Dr. Coffin has been involved in developing and studying services for drug users, including syringe exchange, pharmacotherapy, and overdose prevention programming.

Dr. Coffin’s interests include development of pharmacotherapies for substance use disorders; drug overdose, with an emphasis on opioid safety and the provision of naloxone; mathematical modeling of substance use and infectious diseases; and clinical care for HIV, viral hepatitis, and general infectious diseases. Dr. Coffin has an established record of clinical experience, academic service, innovative research, and mentoring.



Mitchell Gomez, DanceSafe
Denise Lobato, San Luis Valley Area Health Education Center
Lisa Raville, Harm Reduction Action Center
Maggie Seldeen, High Rockies Harm Reduction
Judy Solano, Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association


Philip Coffin

Learning Objectives

1. Discuss qualitative and quantitative data regarding fentanyl and fentanyl-related overdoses from the perspective of syringe access programs and/or individuals who use drugs

2. Discuss the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on community harm reduction programs and overdoses in general

3. Advocate for drug testing equipment in various settings 4. Explore facts and myths regarding safe drug supply in communities around Colorado