HB23-1202 would prevent fatal overdoses with a public health and local control approach
DENVER, CO – The House Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services committee today passed legislation to prevent drug overdose deaths and connect individuals with substance use disorder to treatment and services.
“We won’t sit idly by while five Coloradans die every day of a preventable drug overdose,” said Rep. Elisabeth Epps, D-Denver. “Overdose prevention centers are a safe and effective public health approach to preventing fatal overdose deaths and connecting people to the treatment and resources they need to stay alive. I’m proud to champion this life-saving legislation that is supported by local governments, faith groups, medical professionals, disability justice advocates, mental health advocates and so many more who are working to prevent drug overdose deaths.”
“Too many Coloradans are dying from overdoses, and it is both devastating and entirely preventable,” said Rep. Jenny Willford, D-Northglenn. “Our bill takes a public health approach to tackle Colorado’s rise in accidental overdoses and save lives. Overdose prevention centers are proven tools that lead to reduced crime, decreases in public drug use, and less drug litter in public spaces. This bill prioritizes saving lives and gives cities the tools they need to decide if overdose prevention centers are right for their communities.”
HB23-1202, which passed committee by a vote of 8 to 3, 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.