DENVER (KKTV) – Colorado lawmakers are addressing the growing fentanyl crisis in Colorado.
The drug has made numerous headlines in recent weeks as it continues to be linked to overdoses in the state and across the country. In El Paso County, accidental deaths attributed to fentanyl have skyrocketed as seen in the below chart from the El Paso County Coroner’s Office:
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, fentanyl was originally intended for pain management treatment of cancer patients, being 80-100 times more potent than morphine. It is still used by doctors to control severe pain — but has also found a home among street drugs, with roughly 1 in 4 laced with fentanyl. The rise in accidental overdoses is attributed to this lethal combination — which many people are unaware they’re ingesting.
“People using street drugs but now with fentanyl has become very deadly,” said Dr. Chris Urbina, a Colorado-based family physician.
Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis, Speaker Alec Garnett, a bipartisan group of state legislators, district attorneys, and community members will discuss new legislation to prevent fentanyl deaths and save lives.
According to a statement by Attorney General Phil Weiser obtained by 11 News Wednesday, the legislation would lay out harsher penalties for people selling fentanyl. Many communities including Colorado Springs have been exploring that option; Pikes Peak Area Crime Stoppers announced earlier this week it was increasing its reward for tips leading to the arrests of anyone dealing fentanyl.
If a live video is available, we will stream it inside this article beginning around 10:30 a.m.
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