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Arapahoe County News

Posted on: May 26, 2023

Addressing the impacts of opioid use in Arapahoe County

Man with his head down, hiding his face with his arm

Arapahoe County seeks program proposals to help stunt opioid abuse 

Arapahoe County saw 180 deaths last year related to opioid usage, and now seeks proposals from community nonprofits to distribute nearly $5 million in funding to address the crisis as part of a regional plan put in place after a multi-state settlement with opioid manufacturers.

Considered a public health emergency, opioid use has seen a rapid increase in overdoses—driven largely by the spread of illicit fentanyl—and contributed to more than 81,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2022. The top four opioid manufacturers and distributors reached a nationwide settlement in 2021 to resolve claims by state and local governments that these companies contributed to the opioid epidemic. As a requirement of the agreement, states required significant participation by counties and cities.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser worked with Arapahoe County and other local governments to develop and execute an agreement that establishes how opioid funds will be distributed within the state, with settlement funds focused on regional programs that focus on prevention, treatment, and harm reduction. 

“Far too many lives have been lost and too many families shattered by the opioid crisis,” said Arapahoe County Commissioner Bill Holen. “Now is the time for action; these grants will help Arapahoe County deliver an effective regional approach to the opioid crisis and get people the help they need as our community recovers.”

Arapahoe County’s is working directly with municipal and other stakeholders to design and implement strategies for lessening opioid abuse, creating a regional plan for leveraging initial funds from the settlement to create a comprehensive and multifaceted countywide response.

The Region 9 Opioid Abatement Council, which represents a partnership between 12 participating municipalities in the County, is seeking proposals from partner agencies to provide programs in several areas, including:

  • Residential detox center
  • Sober living and transitional safety zones
  • Peer navigators
  • Harm reduction
  • Co-responders
  • Youth leadership program

The Council’s call for proposals is an important step toward addressing and abating the impacts of opioid addiction in the region. Service providers can read more about the program and application requirements on the county’s website.

Recipients of the grants will be announced on July 1, 2023.

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