Colorado receives $41.6 million to fight opioids

The Colorado Department of Human Services, Office of Behavioral Health will receive $41.6 million over the next two years from the State Opioid Response grant, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant that provides states funding to address the opioid crisis. OBH will receive $20.8 million per year beginning Sept. 30, 2020.

Including the new funds, SAMHSA has awarded CDHS $95.3 million in opioid-related funding since May 2017, with the main goal of increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, a highly effective treatment for opioid use disorder that pairs therapy with anti-craving medications. This grant cycle, the CDHS can use the SOR funds to address addiction to stimulants, such as methamphetamine and cocaine, in addition to opioids.

The announcement comes as more Coloradans seek substance use disorder treatment, according to the latest OBH Drug Trends Report. Admissions to OBH-licensed treatment programs for prescription opioids, methamphetamine and heroin use are up 16%, 31% and 52% percent respectively since 2015. Overdose deaths—particularly from fentanyl, a synthetic opioid—are also on the rise, according to 2019 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.