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January 2019 legislative update

The Colorado Legislature is back in session, and lawmakers will consider a number of bills related to the opioid crisis and prescription drug abuse prevention.

The Legislature moves fast—the best way to keep up if you want to follow the progress of a bill or the hearing schedule is to use the General Assembly’s web page for tracking bills. Enter the bill number into the search field or use keywords such as “opioids” or “substance use” and use the filters to sort the results.

As of Jan. 15, opioid- and substance misuse-related bills include*:

SB19-001  —  Expand Medication-assisted Treatment Pilot Program

Sponsor: Sen. L. Garcia

This bill concerns the expansion of the medication-assisted treatment (MAT) expansion pilot program and would expand the counties that may participate in the program; extend the duration of the program; and increase funding for the program.

The bill is a continuation and enhancement of SB17-074, which created a pilot program that enabled the University of Colorado College of Nursing to train and coach Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in delivering MAT services in Pueblo and Routt Counties. This bill intends to expand the work to the San Luis Valley and two additional counties in which a need is demonstrated.

SB19-008 — Substance Use Disorder Treatment In Criminal Justice System

Sponsors: Sen. K. Priola, Sen. B. Pettersen; Rep. C. Kennedy, Rep. J. Singer

The bill addresses treatment of individuals with substance use disorders in the criminal justice system and includes recommendations from the Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force with regard to law enforcement responses to the opioid crisis. Some components include expansion of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) and Co-Responder programs as well addressing access to medication-assisted treatment in jails. This is a bill put forward by the Interim Study Committee on Opioids and Other Substance Use Disorders.

HB19-1009 — Substance Use Disorders Recovery

Sponsors: Rep. C. Kennedy, Rep. J. Singer; Sen. K. Priola, Sen. B. Pettersen

This bill is another bill from the Interim Study Committee and focuses on housing support for individuals recovering from a substance use disorder and licensing of recovery residences.

*Please note: this might be an incomplete list, and additional legislation could be introduced this session. Bills also could be amended.

About the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention

Last summer, the legislature’s Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee met to consider policy options. The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention along with many other stakeholders provided expert testimony on the bills and continues to provide subject matter expertise with lawmakers as needed.

The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention coordinates Colorado’s statewide response to prescription drug misuse, focusing on the opioid crisis. The Consortium works with stakeholders such as government agencies, community groups, law enforcement, and the medical community. The Consortium is part of the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus.

For more information about the Consortium, visit For information safe medication use, storage, and disposal, visit, the website for Colorado’s anti-prescription drug misuse public awareness campaign.