State legislators are considering expanding a pilot program, currently administered by the CU Anschutz Medical Campus College of Nursing, which has made significant inroads in addressing opioid addiction in rural Colorado.
Senate Bill 19-001 – sponsored by Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, and Rep. Bri Buentello, D-Pueblo – would expand a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) pilot program signed into law in 2017. The effort increased access to treatment for opioid-dependent patients in Pueblo and Routt counties.
CU’s Government Relations team is working to advance the bill at the Capitol.
If passed by lawmakers and signed into law by the governor, the new legislation would provide funding enabling the expansion of the pilot into counties in the San Luis Valley, as well as two more counties where a need is demonstrated.
Administration of the program would shift from the CU Anschutz Medical Campus College of Nursing to the Center for Research Into Substance Use Disorder Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Support Strategies, also based at CU Anschutz, in the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.
By increasing the number of treatment providers in Pueblo and Routt counties, the pilot increased MAT services for 99 clients in Pueblo County in 2017 to 517 clients through October 2018. Routt County, which previously had no such service, helped 51 clients through October 2018.
Funding for the program comes from the state’s Marijuana Tax Cash Fund.