DENVER (KDVR) — Fentanyl-related overdoses are climbing in Colorado, and state law enforcement is pushing for lawmakers to make reforms.
Colorado is currently on track to surpass 1,800 overdose deaths in 2021, the highest total ever. Fentanyl-related overdoses also continue to climb, expected to surpass 2020 totals of 540 deaths with a projection of 875 deaths by year’s end.
Attorney General Phil Weiser said he will work with state lawmakers and law enforcement in the next legislative session to secure more resources for law enforcement to combat the rising threat of fentanyl in the state.
“The rising threat of fentanyl in our communities is alarming and we need comprehensive, thoughtful solutions to win this fight and save lives. I am committed to working with law enforcement, public health advocates, state legislators, and others on a comprehensive plan to tackle this challenge, which includes greater enforcement efforts, public health and addiction services, more funding for police and sheriffs, and public awareness and education to save lives,” Weiser said.
Weiser was joined by Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, District Attorneys Brian Mason, Michael Dougherty and Dan Rubenstein, along with state senators and parents impacted by fentanyl-related overdose deaths in a news conference Thursday.
Weiser also called for lawmakers to revisit drug dealing and possession laws related to fentanyl, due to the rising concerns and deaths across the state.
“Dealers selling counterfeit pills with fentanyl in our communities are peddling substances that can kill. The legislature should increase penalties for those that deliberately hand off fentanyl and fentanyl-laced drugs to unsuspecting users, resulting in accidental overdoses,” Weiser said. “Four grams of fentanyl is not the same as four grams of cocaine or any other illegal drug. The legislature should re-evaluate whether a felony charge is appropriate for possessing this amount of fentanyl.”