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March 10, 2023

House Advances Life-Saving, Overdose Prevention Bill

HB23-1202 would prevent fatal overdoses with a public health and local control approach

DENVER, CO – The House today advanced legislation on a preliminary vote to prevent drug overdose deaths and connect people struggling  with substance use disorder to treatment and services. 

“Overdose prevention centers keep people alive,” said Rep. Elisabeth Epps, D-Denver.  “Colorado’s preventable overdose crisis has reached dire levels. This bill takes a safe and effective public health approach to preventing overdose deaths and maximizing opportunities for health interventions. Our legislation is rooted in local control, harm reduction and most importantly – saving lives.” 

“Accidental overdoses are on the rise, and it’s incredibly heartbreaking and entirely preventable,” said Rep. Jenny Willford, D-Northglenn. “At overdose prevention centers, people live another day and can be connected with support and comprehensive wrap-around services. This legislation will reduce crime, public drug use, and drug litter. I’m proud it has the support of so many faith groups, medical professionals, local governments, mental health advocates, and so many more who are on the ground working to prevent drug overdose deaths.”

HB23-1202 is rooted in local control and would give municipalities the power to authorize OPCs in their communities. OPCs are safe, supervised spaces for people to use previously obtained drugs, test for fentanyl, get counseling, connect to treatment, receive harm reduction services, and most importantly, stay alive. OPCs are a proven, impactful tool to reduce fatal overdoses and improve public health and safety. OPCs also connect those with a substance use disorder to counseling and harm reduction services. There have been zero recorded fatal overdoses at OPCs, which are staffed by on-site medical professionals who are trained and ready to respond. 

HB23-1202 is supported by the Harm Reduction Action Center, Colorado Municipal League, Law Enforcement Action Partnership, Healthier Colorado, Colorado Providers Association, Mental Health Colorado, Colorado Freedom Fund, Together Colorado, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Colorado Nurses Association, Colorado Psychiatric Society, New Era Colorado, and ACLU Colorado among others.

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