Colorado allocates $ 1.8 million to increase access to drugs that can reverse opioid overdoses


As the number of overdoses involving opioids in Colorado rises, state allocates $ 1.8 million in funding to local agencies working with people at high risk to get free naloxone – a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses.

Gov. Jared Polis’ administration on Wednesday announced in a press release that $ 1.8 million has been allocated to Colorado’s Naloxone Bulk Purchase Fund for eligible entities such as local law enforcement agencies, Local governments and harm reduction agencies can access the funds needed to purchase naloxone.

Naloxone is a life-saving drug that reverses overdoses of narcotics like heroin and certain prescription drugs, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said. his website. When given, it can stabilize a person who has overdosed on opioids, allowing time for emergency health professionals to respond and provide needed care, the statement said.

The State Fund for Naloxone, administered by the State Department of Health’s Overdose Prevention Unit, provided 98,314 doses of naloxone free of charge to 253 entities across Colorado from January 2019 through December 2021 , according to the press release. The additional $ 1.8 million, which was made available through the American Rescue Plan Act, is intended to meet the growing demand for naloxone as demand exceeded currently available funding, the statement said.

“We have an opioid epidemic in this country, and this news will help us respond to it more directly and vigorously,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Health.

A record 1,477 Coloradans died of drug overdoses in 2020, according to the Colorado Institute of Health, and opioid overdoses increased by 54%, accounting for almost two in three overdose deaths. The number of drug overdose deaths in 2021, although not yet released, is expected to exceed this record, given concerns over the increase in fentanyl deaths.

Because the state has naloxone standing orders, Colorado residents do not need a prescription to buy naloxone. Stop the Clock Colorado has a online map which lists pharmacies that sell naloxone, which may come in the form of a nasal spray, a self-injection device, and a drug vial that can be injected or used as a nasal spray, depending on the Colorado Consortium for the Prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse.

Signs of an opioid overdose include loss of consciousness, irregular breathing, choking sounds, vomiting, and inability to speak, depending on the doctor. American Psychological Association. The association recommends calling 911 and administering naloxone if you suspect someone is overdosing.

“Anyone at risk for an overdose is loved by someone,” Hunsaker Ryan said. “With the increased access to naloxone, more organizations can distribute naloxone to people at risk of overdose and ultimately save lives. “

Entities eligible for the Naloxone Bulk Purchase Fund, including local public health agencies, school districts, law enforcement agencies, and harm reduction agencies, must have an order. permanent before submitting a funding request. Both apps can be viewed and submitted through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. website.

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