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May 2019 legislative update

Gov. Polis signs bills to continue fight against opioid epidemic

polis bill signing

Gov. Jared Polis signed a package of drug abuse prevention and treatment bills on May 23, 2019. Here Polis is with substance use prevention and treatment advocates at the signing ceremony.

Great news! All five opioid-related bills proposed by the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Interim Study Committee passed the Legislature during the 2019 session, and by May 23 Gov. Jared Polis signed them into law. In addition, two opioid-related bills not originally sponsored by the interim committee passed. Below is information on each of the bills including a link to the final bill.

If you’d like a quick look at what the bills are about, check out the infographic about the bills developed by the Consortium!

What’s next?

There’s still a lot of work to do after the bills are signed into law. Subscribe to the Consortium’s newsletter and follow our Twitter feed for more information about new programs and funding opportunities.

About the Bills

House Bills:

HB19-1009 — Substance Use Disorders RecoveryFinal Bill Language

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

This bill focuses on expanding housing vouchers for individuals recovering from a substance use disorder and licensing of certain recovery residences. It also creates an advisory group to advise the Colorado Attorney General on use of settlement funds from opioid-related litigation.

On May 3, HB 1009 passed and was signed by the Governor on May 23.

HB19-1287 – Treatment for Opioids and Substance Use DisordersFinal Bill Language

Sponsors: Rep. D. Esgar, Rep. J. Wilson; Sen. B. Pettersen, Sen. K. Priola

This bill directs the Department of Human Services to implement a centralized, web-based behavioral health tracking system to track available treatment capacity at behavioral health and treatment providers to support treatment access. The bill also directs the Department of Human Services to implement a care navigation system. Finally the bill expands treatment capacity in rural and underserved areas.

On May 14, HB 1287 was signed into law by the Governor.

Senate Bills:

SB19-001 — Expand Medication-assisted Treatment Pilot ProgramFinal Bill Language

Sponsors: Sen. L. Garcia; Rep. Buentello

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 increasing 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 add

itional counties in which a need is demonstrated.

On May 14, SB 001 was signed into law by the Governor.

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

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

The bill requires the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice to study and make recommendations on criminal justice and substance use issues. The bill creates a harm reduction grant program to reduce health risks associated with drug use. The bill states that county jails that receive funding through the Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health have a policy in place before Jan. 1, 2020 that describes how medication-assisted treatment (MAT) will be provided in county jails. The bill provides funds for expansion of the co-responder program from eight to 12 statewide.

On May 1, SB 008 passed and was signed by the Governor on May 23.

SB19-227 Harm Reduction Substance Use DisordersFinal Bill Language

Sponsors: Sen. B. Pettersen, Sen. Julie Gonzales; Rep. Chris Kennedy, Rep. Leslie Herod

This bill carries a variety of harm reduction measures including: allowing school districts to carry naloxone, specifying that hospitals can be a syringe access site, creating a naloxone bulk purchase fund, expanding the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment medication take back program to include sharps, allowing naloxone to be available where an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available, and developing a policy for verification of identity for individuals without identification needing substance use treatment.

On April 30, SB 227 passed and was signed by the Governor on May 23.

SB19-228 – Substance Use Disorders Prevention MeasuresFinal Bill Language

Sponsors: Sen. F. Winter, Sen. D. Moreno; Rep. B. Buentello, Rep. J. Singer

The bill provides funding for the implementation of several programs for the prevention of opioid and other substance use disorders in the Department of Human Services (DHS), the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and local public health agencies (LPHAs), and the University of Colorado.

The bill requires certain health care providers with prescriptive authority to complete opioid prescribing best practice, PDMP, and substance use disorder training as part of the continuing education requirement for professional license renewal. The bill prohibits prescribers from accepting any direct or indirect benefits for prescribing a specific medication. The bill allows medical examiners and coroners to access the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) under specified circumstances. The bill provides enhanced pharmacy reimbursement related to medication assisted treatment. Finally, the bill requires opioid prescriptions for outpatient use to bear a warning label.

On May 2, SB 228 passed and was signed by the Governor on May 23.

Other Related Bills:

Many thanks!

The Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention wants to thank all of the Consortium partners for your hard work, which contributed to these successes. Each work group member and participant is part of this success. We’d also like to thank the bill sponsors:


Senate President Leroy Garcia (Pueblo): SB19-001

Senator Julie Gonzales (Denver): SB19-227

Senator Dominick Moreno (Adams): SB19-228

Senator Kevin Priola (Adams): SB19-008, SB19-079, HB19-1009; HB19-1287

Senator Brittany Pettersen (Jefferson): SB19-008, SB19-227; HB19-1009, HB19-1287

Senator Nancy Todd (Arapahoe): SB19-079

Senator Faith Winter (Adams): SB19-228


Representative Bri Buentello (Fremont, Otero, Pueblo): SB19-001, SB19-228

Representative Daneya Esgar (Pueblo): HB19-1287, SB19-079

Representative Leslie Herod (Denver): SB19-227

Representative Chris Kennedy (Jefferson): HB 19-1009; SB19-008; SB19-227;

Representative Lois Landgraf (El Paso): SB19-079

Representative Jonathan Singer (Boulder): HB19-1009, SB19-008, SB19-228

Representative James Wilson (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park): HB19-1287