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June 27, 2024

Amabile, Roberts Suicide Prevention Bill Goes Into Effect

DENVER, CO - On July 1, 2024, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representative Judy Amabile and Senator Dylan Roberts goes into effect to prevent suicides by regulating sales of sodium nitrite products.

“Colorado is in a mental health crisis, and the growing frequency of suicide by sodium nitrite products indicates that these products are too easily accessible,” said Rep. Judy Amabile, D-Boulder. “Some private online sellers are marketing concentrated sodium nitrite products as a way to complete suicide, profiting off of the mental health struggles of our loved ones and neighbors. This new law brings much-needed regulation to these products so we can keep it out of the hands of people most vulnerable to it and instead, focus on getting them help.”

“Colorado tragically has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country, with a particularly alarming high number of suicide deaths among Colorado’s youth,” said Senator Dylan Roberts, D-Denver. “In recent years, we have seen a disturbing trend where people struggling with suicidal ideation and seeking help online are winding up in a web-based wasteland that offers advice on “how to” take one’s own life. This new law will restrict the availability of the extremely potent sodium nitrite chemical and appropriately highlight its lethality so that we can restrict this means of suicide and save lives.”

Sodium nitrite “suicide kits” are easily accessible online and have been reported to be used by Colorado residents, especially youth, in recent years. Websites that sell these kits often have step-by-step instructions on how to use sodium nitrite to complete suicide. 

HB24-1081, also sponsored by Representative Marc Catlin, R-Montrose, and Senator Byron Pelton, R-Sterling, prohibits the sale or transfer of products containing 10 percent or greater sodium nitrite to individuals. It can still be sold to businesses, though sellers will now be required to verify that businesses require the product before a transaction can be made, and records of sales or transfers must be kept for three years.

Violators will see $10,000 in civil penalties for a first violation, with up to $1 million for a second violation.

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