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June 6, 2024

Gov. Polis Signs Bipartisan Bill to Expand SUD Treatment

DENVER, CO – Colorado Governor Jared Polis today signed a bipartisan bill to expand treatment options for Coloradans with Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

“Too many of our neighbors are dying from preventable overdoses, this law expands treatment options in our state so more people struggling with substance use disorder can receive the care they need,” said Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy, D-Lakewood. “During the interim last year, I worked alongside a bipartisan group of legislators to identify important policy changes that would help us address our state’s growing opioid overdose crisis. As a result, we’ve crafted this law to streamline treatment options for Coloradans who need it the most, including in the rural corners of our state and those in jail or prison. The demand for substance use disorder treatment has outpaced what is available in our state – expanding treatment options will undoubtedly save lives.” 

"More than 1,500 of our neighbors died from a drug overdose here in Colorado last year, a heartbreaking number we must work hard to reduce," said Senator Kyle Mullica, D-Thornton. "This year we’ve advanced a number of policies to tackle this crisis, including this bill to expand treatment options for folks struggling with substance use disorders. I am proud of the work we've done, and I look forward to helping more Coloradans get the help and support they need to get their lives back on track."

HB24-1045, also sponsored by Representative Ryan Armagost, R-Berthoud and Senator Perry Will, R-New Castle will: 

  • Direct the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF) to apply for federal Medicaid waivers (1115) to cover health care services for people in jail or prison and to cover a partial-hospitalization level of care in our communities

  • Reduce insurance barriers to accessing substance use disorder treatment

  • Expand the treatment workforce by increasing clinical supervision opportunities for addiction counselors under qualified licensed professional counselors, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed marriage and family therapists

  • Authorize pharmacists to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

  • Create a contingency management grant program, funding the best evidence-based practices to help people with stimulant use disorders stay sober

  • Invest in behavioral health diversion programs to provide adults charged with a minor offense a substance use treatment option

  • Continue the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee during the 2025 interim session 

During the 2023 interim, ten bipartisan lawmakers served on the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee. This interim committee advanced four bills, including HB24-1045, for the general assembly to consider this year. These bills will bolster prevention efforts, improve treatment programs, promote harm reduction strategies, and support Coloradans in recovery to prevent overdose deaths and save lives.

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