(May 21) – Gov. John Hickenlooper went to Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge today to sign five bills to tackle opioid abuse, which has become the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.
“The war on opioids will not be won overnight, but today we gain some ground,” said Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, who has spearheaded legislative efforts to combat an epidemic that has killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War.
The bills signed into law today are:
- SB18-022, sponsored in the House by Reps. Pettersen and Chris Kennedy, D-Lakewood, limiting many opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply and mandating that medical professionals check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database before writing refills.
- SB18-024, sponsored in the House by Reps. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, and Pettersen, expanding the Colorado Health Service Corps program, which includes loan repayment and scholarship programs for medical professionals who commit to working in underserved areas where substance abuse is more likely to go untreated.
- SB18-270, sponsored in the House by Reps. Pettersen and Cole Wist, R-Centennial, coordinating referrals of high-risk individuals with significant mental health or substance use disorders to transition specialists who can provide housing services, program placement and access to other behavioral health treatment or benefits.
- HB18-1007, by Reps. Kennedy and Singer, requiring insurance companies and Medicaid to provide faster approval of medication-assisted treatment so patients with substance use disorders don’t go back to opioids while waiting for approval to begin their treatment.
- HB18-1003, by Rep. Pettersen, commissioning further study of the substance use disorder problem in Colorado.