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Maura Bennett Reducing Opioid Addiction in Rural Colorado
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: June 08, 2018

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The State Legislature and Governor John Hickenlooper have taken another step toward helping end opioid addiction in rural Colorado.

It’s actually a package of bi-partisan bills signed by Hickenlooper that includes limitations on painkiller prescriptions and a plan to repay loans for behavioral-health specialists who agreed to work in underserved rural areas.

More specifically the legislation includes, Senate Bill 22, which limits many first-time prescriptions and refills for opioids to a seven-day supply.

SB 24, which offers loan repayment and scholarships for behavioral-health specialists working in rural or urban areas where there is a lack of substance-abuse professionals.

SB 270, which puts resources to helping people hospitalized for behavioral-health or substance-abuse issues to move from emergency health-care facilities into programs rather than going directly back to the streets;

This comes after Hickenlooper and other state officials kicked off the “Lift the Label” campaign, asking former addicts to share their stories of addiction and recovery to help others seek treatment and avoid joining the ranks of those killed by opioids and heroin.

While no corner of the country has gone untouched by this issue, the opioid epidemic has hit rural America particularly hard.

A December 2017 survey by the National Farmers Union and the American Farm Bureau Federation found that as many as 74 percent of farmers have been directly impacted by the opioid crisis.

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