Second phase of overdose prevention centers bill approved by Colorado House after lengthy overnight legislative session
After a marathon legislative session, the Colorado House of Representatives voted to approve the second phase of a bill that would allow overdose prevention centers in cities across the state. It comes as Colorado continues to deal with a high number of deaths related to fentanyl and other drug overdoses.
Representatives started debate on phase two of House Bill 1202 at around midnight and it lasted until daybreak on Friday. The measure now moves on to the state Senate after two amendments to it were voted on and approved.
These overdose prevention centers are sometimes called safe use or supervised injection sites. They're supposed to be a safe place where people can use illicit drugs, and they're controversial among the recovery community. They would not provide drugs, but would give users sterile needles and fentanyl test strips. Health care professionals would be there to administer Narcan and other medical help if an overdose occurs.
Similar facilities are already in place in New York City. In 2018, Denver City Council approved a safe injection site, but the state legislation the council was depending on failed and the effort never got off the ground.
Acccording to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control, more than 107,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2021. Of those deaths, the CDC estimates 75% of them involved opioids. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported over 1,200 opioid-related overdoses in 2021, which is more than double what it was in 2019 (620).
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