Prescription drug misuse and abuse is a serious problem both nationally and here in Colorado.  Each year, overdose deaths from opioid painkillers alone number approximately 17,000 nationally and 300 in Colorado. Such deaths are now more common than alcohol-related traffic fatalities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call prescription drug overdose deaths one of the four most serious epidemics facing the nation. As recently as 2010-2011, Colorado ranked #2 in the nation among young adults ages 12-24 for self-admitted, non-medical use of prescription painkillers. Enough opioid painkillers are dispensed by pharmacies in the United States to supply each and every American citizen with enough painkilling pills to take one every four hours, around the clock, for a month. To address this problem, Colorado convened experts from across the state to create the Colorado Plan to Reduce Rx Abuse (see below/right for a downloadable PDF copy of the plan).


In February 2015, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, in conjunction with Webb Strategic Communications and Zeto Creative, launched a statewide public awareness campaign called The campaign has three key messages: Safe Use, Safe Storage, and Safe Disposal of prescription medications; as well as informative statistics, real life stories from affected families, a quiz to test your knowledge, and useful links to resources that can help people find ways to protect themselves and their loved ones from the problems and consequences of misuse or abuse.


Hoping To Blunt Opioid Deaths, ‘Naloxone For Life’ Is Equipping Colorado First Responders (2/6/18)

Dreamland in Denver recap: Busting myths, preconceptions about opioid epidemic (2/5/18)

In fight against opioid abuse, doctors in Southwest Colorado reduce prescriptions (2/4/18)

Increase in number of Boulder County law enforcement carrying naloxone to battle opioid overdoses (1/31/18)

After his son overdosed in Denver, a father works to combat the opioid epidemic (1/29/18)

To combat addiction, several Colorado hospitals tried a new approach to treating pain. Their use of opioids plummeted. (1/25/18)

Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention gets $1.5M grant (1/22/18)

As the opioid crisis grows, here’s what Colorado lawmakers are proposing in 2018 (1/19/18)

Proposed bill focuses on opioid pill prescriptions and accountability (1/18/18)

Debate over bills in Colorado legislature to begin soon (1/17/18)

Denver heroin users could use supervised injection site if proposal passes multiple hurdles (11/5/17)

Here’s how Colorado is combating the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic (11/5/17)

Colorado’s opioid epidemic explained in 10 graphics (11/5/17)

For Colorado’s opioid crisis, lawmakers endorse prescription limits and possibility of safe-injection sites (10/31/17)

What does the opioid crisis look like in Colorado? (10/27/17)

Radical approach to overdose epidemic: Give safe place for drug users (9/25/17)

Colorado Heroin And Opioid Deaths Rise Even More Dramatically (9/12/17)

NPR interviews Gov. John Hickenlooper on the opioid crisis (8/9/17)

State Gives $1 Million for New Center to Fight Opioid Epidemic


2018 Work Group Meeting Schedules


With assistance from the National Governor’s Association (NGA) Policy Academy to Reduce Prescription Drug Abuse, experts from across Colorado gathered in 2013 and created a statewide Strategic Plan to address this problem. Download a copy of the plan below.


Track the progress of the six opioid-related bills being considered this year by the Colorado Legislature. This summary of the bills includes links to the bills as well as details about upcoming hearings.