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Here’s How Colorado Is Combating The Prescription Opioid And Heroin Epidemic

Nov 06, 2017

Colorado is exploring opioid prescription limits, prescriber report cards and new treatment options.

The nation’s drug epidemic kills someone in Colorado about every 9 hours and 36 minutes, a fact that rings like a siren for state leaders who are combating the leading driver: prescription and illicit opioids.

The attention to the issue so far offers promise to policymakers. Even though drug overdoses killed 912 people in 2016, the rate of prescription opioid-related deaths may have plateaued at 300 deaths the same year.

The most alarming trend is the rate of heroin deaths. The number of overdoses caused by heroin, an opioid, continues to skyrocket, contributing to 228 deaths last year, compared with just 79 five years earlier, according to state figures.

To limit prescription opioid abuse and so-called doctor shopping, studies show one of the most effective tactics is a prescription-drug monitoring program, or PDMP.