DENVER (KDVR)- Drug overdoses continue to be a problem in the state. Data from the state health department (CDPHE) shows almost 1,500 Coloradans died of a drug overdose in 2020.

A new bill at the state capitol is creating some buzz among lawmakers looking to revitalize an effort allowing cities to open overdose prevention centers.

There Is a lot of new blood at the state capitol this year. While new members think they have enough support to get this measure passed this year, the new measure already has some pushback.

“We have been working on this since about 2016,” said Lisa Raville, Executive Director of the Harm Reduction Action Center.

It has been a long time coming for harm reduction advocates in Colorado.

“In November 2018, [an ordinance] did pass Denver City Council 12-1 in anticipation of state legislation,” said Raville.

The ordinance in Denver approved a supervised drug use site where clean needles would be available and trained professionals would supervise users.

Though the city council overwhelmingly approved of the site’s creation, Denver cannot act on it until state law allows it.

The new bill that would give cities the authority to open those prevention centers was introduced Thursday after a similar effort in 2018 failed.

“We were so excited to see that there were four sponsors and 31 co-sponsors, meaning 35% of the Colorado state legislature supports overdose prevention centers on day one,” Raville said.

Despite the big number of Democrats making their support official, harm reduction advocates will still need to win over some lawmakers.

Governor Jared Polis’ Office told FOX31 in a statement:

“The Governor is focused on saving Coloradans money, getting people help for substance use disorders, and ensuring that the scourge of fentanyl ends,” a spokesperson said. “While he has not seen this particular legislative proposal, he would be deeply concerned with any approach that would contribute to more drug use and lawlessness. The governor was proud to sign legislation last year providing historic funding for research-based harm reduction strategies to be applied across colorado coupled with more tools to crack down on drug dealers.”

Advocates said last year’s fentanyl prevention measure did not do enough to stop overdoses and the state needs to do something to stop public overdoses now.

“We’ve heard from people who don’t want people using in public restrooms, right? We want to increase public safety,” Raville said. “We want to reduce that public drug use … So I do know that folks are invested in the health and safety of the public community in which we serve.”

FOX31 asked House Minority Leader Mike Lynch for his thoughts on the bill.

“House Republicans understand the tragedy and devastation drugs have had on our communities. We sympathize with those struggling with substance abuse,” he said in a statement. “I believe the answer lies within new partnerships with public health organizations, treatment providers, community leaders and stakeholders to find innovative solutions that lead addicts away from the grip of substance abuse — and toward a healthier new productive life. The road to untreated addiction leads to nowhere but despair, hopelessness and eventual death. I know that together we can do better than this misguided liberal effort for our citizens in need of REAL assistance.”

If lawmakers can garner enough support from two-thirds of the lawmakers at the capitol, they could override a potential veto from Governor Polis.