The first bill introduced by the Colorado state Senate each session tends to signal what the Senate majority thinks is a major issue facing our state. This year, Senate Bill 1 is about opioids.
Democratic Senate President Leroy Garcia is a prime sponsor for the bill.
The bill seeks to expand Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) options across Colorado to address a shortage of medical professionals trained in MAT and not enough options for help, especially in rural areas.
MAT is a combination of behavioral therapy and medication. Those medications include methadone and buprenorphine, which are considered safer alternative opioid medications to help with withdrawals. People can also take naltrexone to help with cravings afterward.
Dr. Rob Valuck, a clinical pharmacy professort at CU Anschutz's Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences who helped work on this bill, said in some cases people travel as far as from Steamboat to Grand Junction for treatment.
"There is a pilot program in Pueblo and Routt County and this would expand it from two counties to 12 counties," Valuck said.
And WATCH a video report at left.