facebook linkedin twitter

Colorado Will Use American Rescue Funds to Combat Substance Abuse Disorders

August 11, 2021 by Alexa Hornbeck
(Wikimedia Commons)

Colorado is experiencing a substance abuse disorder crisis, and now city officials are looking to combat the problem with $450 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan. 

Fatal drug overdose deaths increased approximately 38% in Colorado from 2019 to 2020, according to preliminary federal data from the National Vital Statistics System.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 1,477 deaths statewide in 2002, compared to 1,072 people who died of an overdose in 2019. 

State data also shows a rise in fentanyl-associated deaths, which more than doubled from 222 deaths in 2019, to 540 deaths in 2020.

Gov. Jared Polis signed SB 21-137, also known as the Behavioral Health Recovery Act, into law on June 28, which allocates $100 million to behavioral health programs.

The funds will be allocated toward things like a medication-assisted treatment expansion pilot program, expanding the Colorado State University AgrAbility project to provide funds for a rural rehabilitation specialist, harm reduction grant program, and creating a health connector workforce program to educate health care providers on substance use disorders, mental health, and COVID-19 intersection.

The act also requires Medicaid to screen for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and establish a statewide data collection and information system to identify areas of improvement, promote accountability.

While the remaining $450 million in federal funding has yet to be allocated, state legislators are hoping the funds will be used to improve a new substance use benefit for Medicaid patients.

Rep. Serena Gonzalez-Gutierrez, D-Colo., will serve as a vice chair of a 16-member Behavioral Health task force created by Behavioral Health Recovery Act, which also includes a sub-panel of 25 people with expertise in substance abuse and mental health care. 

One key target that members of the task force have discussed is how to increase access to fentanyl test strips for those who use drugs to test and see if the substance is present, and providing clean syringes to drug users, both harm reduction strategies to reduce the dangers of substance abuse. 

The task force also is considering the establishment of overdose prevention sites for supervised drug use, and improving medication-assisted treatment for drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine. 

The Behavioral Task Force will hold their first meeting on August 16, and will hold additional meetings through January of next year. 

In The States

September 17, 2021
by Dan McCue
Virginia Voters Begin Heading to the Polls

Early in-person voting in Virginia’s general election began Friday morning, the start of a 45-day period in which those registered... Read More

Early in-person voting in Virginia’s general election began Friday morning, the start of a 45-day period in which those registered to do so can cast ballots for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, the House of Delegates and in local races. Those wishing to vote early can... Read More

September 17, 2021
by Dan McCue
FWS to Consider Possible Listing of Western Gray Wolf

A pair of petitions seeking a determination that gray wolves are a threatened or endangered species in the western U.S.... Read More

A pair of petitions seeking a determination that gray wolves are a threatened or endangered species in the western U.S. have convinced federal officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take a closer look at the situation. “The service finds that the petitions [for... Read More

Minnesota High Court OKs Ballot Question on Minneapolis PD

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday evening for voters in Minneapolis to decide on the... Read More

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court cleared the way Thursday evening for voters in Minneapolis to decide on the future of policing in the city where George Floyd was killed, just ahead of the start of early and absentee voting. The state's highest court overturned... Read More

Texas AG Paxton Now Suing 15 School Districts Over Masking Guidance

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expanded litigation efforts against a swath of school districts that defied... Read More

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has expanded litigation efforts against a swath of school districts that defied Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on mask mandates. Paxton announced on Tuesday his office had filed lawsuits against the Paris, Diboll, Honey Grove, La Vega, Longview, Lufkin,... Read More

Democrats Push for Changes to California Recall Efforts

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom handily defeated a recall election that could have removed him from office,... Read More

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom handily defeated a recall election that could have removed him from office, but his Democratic allies in the Legislature already are seeking changes that could make it harder to mount such a challenge in the future. Those changes... Read More

States Learning How Many Afghan Evacuees Coming Their Way

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many Afghan... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration began notifying governors and state refugee coordinators across the country about how many Afghan evacuees from among the first group of nearly 37,000 arrivals are slated to be resettled in their states. California is projected to take more arrivals than... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top