Bills Expand Access to Naloxone to Reduce Overdose Deaths and Protect Individuals Who Disclose Possession of a Syringe to a Peace Officer
Denver, CO – Governor Hickenlooper will sign two life-saving harm reduction bills into law today at 1:20 p.m.
SB15-53, which passed unanimously in the General Assembly, expands access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone by allowing standing orders, effectively allowing harm reduction organizations and pharmacists to to distribute the life-saving drug without a doctor present.
SB15-116, which passed almost unanimously, exempts individuals from arrest, ticketing or filing charges if they disclose possession of a syringe prior to being searched by law enforcement, provided that their syringe has only a trace amount of a controlled substance.
"Today is a great day for harm reduction in Colorado,” said Lisa Raville, executive director of the Harm Reduction Action center. “These laws expand access to naloxone across the State of Colorado to save lives and protects our community members from unnecessary needle sticks. We are so appreciative of the bi-partisan support for public health in the State of Colorado."
“These laws mark a clear shift away from criminal justice strategies toward public health approaches in response to drug use in our state,” said Mary Patrick, policy associate with the Drug Policy Alliance in Colorado. “We’re thrilled to see an increased willingness among Colorado legislators to adopt commonsense public health strategies in order to address drug-related harm and hope it’s part of a continued trend of support for harm reduction principles in Colorado.”