Press Release

Colorado Opioid Symposium: Reducing the Impacts of Opioids in Colorado

Members of the Affected Community, International Experts, Treatment Providers, State Leaders and Physicians Gather to Discuss Opioid Use, Harm Reduction Strategies, Overdose Prevention, Supervised Injection Facilities, Heroin Assisted Treatment and Best Practices From Around the World

Daylong Symposium to be Held at Denver’s History Colorado Center, Thursday, March 5, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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Denver, CO – The Drug Policy Alliance, Harm Reduction Action Center and the Center for Public Health Practice will convene stakeholders to deliberate on the current impact of opioids and more effective responses to opioid use and dependency in Colorado.  The Opioid Symposium is a daylong event on Thursday, March 5th at the History Colorado Center in Denver. The Symposium will assess the impacts of opioids in Colorado, examine recent and pending legal changes intended to reduce opioid-related harm and review evidence-based public health interventions aimed at addressing the impacts of opioids. 

“Colorado is ranked high in prescription pill misuse and no stranger to heroin problems,” said Art Way, state director, Colorado, Drug Policy Alliance.  “We are primed to discuss the current reality in our state, and proven strategies used across the globe to help lessen the impact.”

One hundred twenty to one hundred fifty stakeholders from around the state will come together to listen to and engage with community leaders and experts about opioids' impacts in Colorado, harm reduction strategies, overdose prevention, supervised injection facilities, heroin assisted treatment and more.

"Stigma and shame surrounding drug use has done nothing in our community except to support overdoses," said Lisa Raville, executive director of the Harm Reduction Action Center in Denver. "We look forward to having a realistic dialogue on Thursday about how harm reduction and common-sense approaches not only keep people alive, but allow them to flourish."

Symposium Objectives:

  • Convene community members, experts, and stakeholders to assess the impact of opioids in Colorado
  • Evaluate the impact of recent legal changes on opioid-related harm
  • Examine the potential benefits of evidence-based, public health interventions
  • Outline actionable steps for saving lives and reducing opioid-related harm in Colorado

The event is free and breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Tim Byers, MD, PhD, Director, Center for Public Health Practice
  • Richard Dart, MD, PhD, Director, Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center
  • Angela Bonaguidi, Director of Adult Outpatient, UC Denver ARTS
  • Shannon Breitzman, Branch Chief, Violence and Injury Prevention—Mental Health Promotion Branch, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Lisa Raville, Executive Director, Harm Reduction Action Center
  • Kevin Kaucher, PharmD, Emergency Medicine Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Denver Health
  • Terri Hurst, MSW, Policy Coordinator, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition
  • Liz Evans, Executive Director, Community Insite
  • Danna Richkun, RN, Colorado Representative, Moms United to End the War on Drugs
  • Blair Hubbard, Methadone Clinic Client
  • Scott MacDonald, MD, Lead Physician, Providence Crosstown Clinic
  • Denise Vincioni, Controlled Substances Administrator, Office of Behavioral Health
When: Thursday, March 5, 2015; 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Where: History Colorado Center, 1200 Broadway, Denver, CO
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