Location: RM 271
Impact of Opioid Crisis on Law Enforcement
OPIOID AND OTHER SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS
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02:41 PM -- Impact of Opioid Crisis on Law Enforcement
Sheriff Kirk Taylor, Pueblo County Sheriff, provided a handout to the committee (Attachment H) and discussed the efforts of Pueblo County in addressing opioid addiction within the jail population. He discussed the use of Vivitrol in the Pueblo County jail and the success realized by using this course of treatment. He pointed out that individuals with substance use disorders need additional resources and assistance to be successful in treatment and recovery.
Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons, Summit County Sheriff, provided a handout to the committee (Attachment I). He discussed the unique needs of Summit County's population. He stated that most people addicted to opioids became addicted while using prescription opioids. He discussed the drug take-back program in Summit County, detox facilities, the experience of users who detox while in jail, good samaritan laws, and drug courts.
Sheriff Taylor responded to questions about the Vivitrol program and the wraparound services available to individuals involved in the criminal justice system. Committee discussion and questions followed about drug prevention programs, detox facilities, and Portugal's law which decriminalizes all drugs and requires mandatory treatment for users.
Sheriffs Taylor and FitzSimons continued to dialogue with the committee about treatment options available to individuals being released from jail, the drug supply chain, training of first responders to administer noloxon, lack of access to treatment, statutory limitations that deter some programs and treatments from being implemented, and cooperation with the federal government regarding drug trafficking.
Tom Raynes, Colorado District Attorney Council, provided a handout to the committee (Attachment J). He discussed the role forced on law enforcement in the treatment of individuals with substance use disorders and the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program (LEAD). LEAD is a pre-booking diversion program that aims to improve public health and end the cycle of recidivism. LEAD allows an arrestee to be enrolled in a diversion program and connect with a case manager rather than being booked and held in jail. Case managers connect the individuals with housing options, substance use treatment, and vocational training. Mr. Raynes explained that several district attorneys in Colorado will be applying for grants to implement this program.
Helen Morgan, Chief Deputy Denver District Attorney, discussed the increase in narcotic cases involving heroin that her office handles. She explained that in 2016, 2000 inmates in the Denver County jail experience opioid withdrawal and that inmates are 129 percent more likely die of an overdose within two weeks of release from custody than other opioid users. She spoke about the four law enforcement assisted diversion programs utilized by Denver and Denver's efforts to provide treatment services for opioid users. Committee discussion and comments followed about the difficulty of accessing treatment for drug addiction, funding for treatment and recovery programs, and efforts to address these concerns across the state.
Additional discussion about the LEAD program and veterans' courts ensued.