House Approves Bills to Address Opioid Crisis

More than one million Coloradans experience mental health or a substance use crisis each year

(Apr. 26) – The House approved two bills today that expand services to people recovering from opioid addiction.

HB19-1287 passed on second reading. The bill is a product of the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee.

“There are real barriers for people who are seeking treatment and want to be in recovery.

This bill will give them the tools to overcome these barriers,” said Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo. “Many individuals encounter barriers when trying to access treatment to overcome their addiction. This bill puts a system in place that is ready to help people, a system to help them navigate treatment and recovery options and a system that works for everyone involved.”

HB19-1287 directs the Department of Human Services to implement a web-based tracking system to track available treatment capacity at behavioral health facilities and at programs for medication-assisted treatment and medical detoxification for substance use disorders.

This bill also directs the Department of Human Services to implement a care navigation system to assist individuals to obtain access to treatment for substance use disorders, including medical detoxification and residential and inpatient treatment

Lastly, the bill creates a grant program for substance use disorder treatment in underserved communities to provide services in rural and frontier communities, prioritizing areas of the state that are unserved or underserved.

The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 57-6.

The House also passed HB19-1009 sponsored by Rep. Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, and Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont.

“This bill is focused on people who are going through substance use recovery and they are at the end of that spectrum,” said Rep. Kennedy. “Through this, we are trying to reintegrate them back into the community and this gets rids of the barriers they face, such as access to housing.”

This bill improves support for individuals recovering from substance use disorders by expanding housing assistance for people transitioning out of treatment, increasing oversight of recovery residences to ensure high quality care, and investing in recovery services for people who have sought care and treatment.

“The majority of people with a substance use disorder are currently in recovery today. Supporting recovery is the right thing to do, costing the state far less in the long run,” said Rep. Singer. “This will play a huge role in ending the opioid crisis.”

HB19-1009 passed by a voice-vote. A final vote will be given at a later date.

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