In this 2014 file photograph, a small bottle of the opiate overdose treatment drug, naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan, is displayed at the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City, N.J.

Colorado will receive $20.8 million in federal money to increase access to approved medication-assisted treatment and reduce deaths from opioid use.

The State Opioid Response program uses funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. In addition to states, tribes also received grant money, although there were no such recipients in Colorado.

“Our response in Washington to the opioid epidemic must match the magnitude of the crisis — which is why I've strongly supported funding for this program and I'm grateful to announce nearly $21 million will go to our state,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

The opioid grant also allows for money to support evidence-based treatment for other types of stimulant misuse, including cocaine and methamphetamine. A total of $1.42 billion was available nationwide.

"Medical withdrawal (detoxification) is not the standard of care for [opioid use disorder], is associated with a very high relapse rate, and significantly increases an individual’s risk for opioid overdose and death if opioid use is resumed,” SAMHSA cautioned its grant applicants. “Therefore, medical withdrawal (detoxification) when done in isolation is not an evidence-based practice for OUD.”

A record-high number of Colroadans died in 2019 from drug overdoses, and in Denver the first five months of 2020 saw a threefold increase in fentanyl overdoses from the prior year.

Those in need of assistance with their addiction may call the 24/7 National Drug Helpline at (844) 289-0879 or visit http://drughelpline.org.

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