EL PASO COUNTY — An improved and better-funded battle plan for fighting the opioid crisis in Colorado is forming as the Attorney General's Office works with counties for solutions.
Colorado’s Attorney General Phil Wiser held a town hall meeting with leaders from El Paso and Teller Counties to discuss plans for settlement money likely coming to the state because of court action against pharmaceutical companies with ties to opioid marketing and distribution.
Depending on the cooperation of local governments, the state could receive between $200 and $400 million over the next 18 years.
"The funds that come back, all just go to address the opioid epidemic," said Weiser.
Weiser wants settlement dollars divided in a way that gives city and county leadership control over specific plans for their communities.
"You all know your community. The premise of this plan is to empower and support bottom-up regional-based governance."
Over the last ten years over 5,000 people have died from accidental opioid overdoses in Colorado. Another 2,000 from related heroin and fentanyl overdoses.
The number of people struggling with addiction is far higher. Wiser says the state has only 50% of need drug treatment resources.