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Colorado public health harm reduction legislation

Back to reducing infections from injection drug use

Syringe Exchange Programs C.R. S. §25-1-520
This law, amended July 13, 2020, to remove a regulatory barrier, allows a nonprofit organization with experience providing syringe services or a health facility licensed or certified by the state to operate a syringe exchange program without prior board of health approval. If an entity does not possess the aforementioned qualifications, it is still required to acquire board of health approval prior to operating a syringe exchange program.
 
Prior to operating a syringe exchange program, a nonprofit organization shall consult with interested stakeholders and annually report to the state department specifying the nonprofit organization’s or health facility's number of syringe access episodes in the previous year and the number of used syringes collected by the facility.
 
Drug Paraphernalia Law Exemption, C.R.S. §18-18-430.5
Participants, volunteers, and staff are exempt from the provisions of paraphernalia laws, C.R.S. §18-18-425 to 18-18-430 when they are associated with an approved syringe exchange program created pursuant to this law.

Due to a 2020 amendment, a pharmacist or pharmacy technician who sells non-prescription syringes is also exempt pursuant to section 12-280-123 (4).
 
911 Good Samaritan Law, C.R.S. §18-1-711
The 911 Good Samaritan Law states that  a person is immune from criminal prosecution for an offense when the person reports, in good faith, an emergency drug or alcohol overdose even to a law enforcement officer, to the 911 system, or to a medical provider. This same immunity applies to persons who remain at the scene of the event until a law enforcement officer or an emergency medical responder arrives, or if the person remains at the facilities of the medical provider until a law enforcement officer, emergency medical responder, or medical provider arrives. The immunity described above also extends to the person who suffered the emergency drug or alcohol overdose event. There are limitations to immunity based upon possession and/or distribution of certain amounts of substances. 
 
Third Party Naloxone, C.R.S. §18-1-712
This law allows for a person other than a health care provider or health care facility who acts in good faith to administer naloxone to another person whom the person believes to be suffering an opiate-related drug overdose. The individual who administers naloxone shall be immune from criminal prosecution for such an act. Amended July 13, 2020, to extend immunity to individuals administering expired naloxone.
 
Naloxone Standing Orders, C.R.S. §12-36-117.7
Signed into law on April 3, 2015, this law concerns the ability to furnish a supply of emergency drugs for the purposes of treating individuals who may experience an opiate-related overdose event. This bill allows licensed prescribers to prescribe, and licensed dispensers to dispense, an opiate antagonist, either pursuant to a direct prescriber order or in accordance with standing orders and protocols.
 
Needle-stick Prevention C.R.S., §18-18-428
Signed into law on April 3, 2015, this law allows for an exception to arrest and filing charges for the crime of possession of syringes for the purposes of drug use if the person, prior to being searched by a law enforcement officer, informs the officer that he or she has a needle, syringe, or other sharp objects on his or her person or in his or her vehicle or home that is subject to a search. The exception to arrest and filing charges also applies to the crime of possession of a controlled substance as it relates to any residual controlled substance that may be found in a used needle, syringe, or other sharp object.
 
Coverage for Opiate Antagonists Provided by a Hospital C.R.S., §10-16-154

Signed into law July 13, 2020, this law requires health insurance carriers to reimburse a hospital if the facility provides a covered person with naloxone upon discharge. 

Pharmacy Exemption to Prescription Requirement C.R.S., §12-280-123

Signed into law July 13, 2020, this law requires a pharmacist to notify an individual dispensed an opioid about the availability of opiate antagonists to reverse an overdose. If an individual to whom an opioid is being dispensed chooses to accept the pharmacist’s offer for an opiate antagonist, the pharmacist shall counsel the individual on how to use the opiate antagonist in the event of an overdose. A pharmacist or pharmacy technician may sell a nonprescription syringe or needle to any person.

School Employee or Agent Administration of Opiate Antagonists C.R.S., §22-1-119.1

A school district board of education of a public school, the state charter school institute for an institute charter school, or the governing board of a nonpublic school may adopt and implement a policy whereby a school may acquire and maintain a supply of opiate antagonists. An employee or agent of the school may, after receiving appropriate training, administer an opiate antagonist on school grounds to assist an individual who is at risk of experiencing an opiate-related drug overdose event

Opioid Treatment for a Person in Custody C.R.S., §17-1-113.4

A correctional facility or private contract prison may make available opioid agonists and opioid antagonists to a person in custody with an opioid use disorder. The correctional facility or private contract prison is strongly encouraged to maintain the treatment of the person throughout the duration of the person’s incarceration, as medically necessary. 

As funding and supplies allow, if a person in custody is treated for an opioid use disorder pursuant to this section, the correctional facility or private contract prison shall offer the person, upon release from the facility, at least two doses of an opioid reversal medication, in a form approved by the federal drug administration, and provide education to the person about the appropriate use of the medication.