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Colorado doctors could soon be limited in how many painkillers they prescribe

DENVER -- The opioid addiction is no secret in Colorado -- in fact, it’s a crisis.

In 2017, 959 people died from an overdose, the highest number in history. Most attribute the statistics to opioid addiction.

At the Colorado General Assembly, lawmakers have been working all session on steps to address the problem.

On Thursday, legislation advanced that would restrict the number of opioid pills doctors can hand out.

Under the proposed legislation, which is receiving bipartisan support and is expected to become law, doctors would only be able to hand out a seven-day supply of opioid painkillers.

There are a few exemptions including cancer patients, patients with chronic pain, and patients recovering from extreme surgery.

Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, has helped author the legislation and said it’s meant to reduce the number of opioids prescribed to individuals who could seek other forms of treatment.

“This is addressing the overprescription for acute pain,” Pettersen said.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone who has lost a loved one say they had their whole life ahead of them and then they had an accident or fell off a bike and broke their shoulder."

Not everyone is on board, however. Francesca Maze with the Colorado Senior Lobby is opposing the bill because she fears it will impact too many people who really need painkillers to get through the day.

“I’m against this bill. If you really need an opioid, you must have it and it’s hard enough now to get a 30-day supply,” Maze said.

After advancing out of the House Health and Insurance Committee on Thursday, it will head to the House floor for a vote.

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