State health dept. delays ketamine review plans, AG continues McClain case investigation

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Ketamine

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DENVER (KDVR) – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) says its planned review of the state’s ketamine waiver program is on hold while the attorney general continues to investigate the death of Elijah McClain.

“We decided to hold off on its review to avoid interfering with the AG’s independent investigation. When the AG’s investigation is complete, we intend to proceed with a review,” said Peter Myers, a spokesperson for CDPHE.

In August, the state announced it would conduct a “thorough review” of the program and the state’s oversight mechanisms after multiple reports by the FOX31 Problem Solvers shed light on public concerns and questionable incidents involving the use of the drug to sedate people who had been involved in police altercations.

“Patient safety and program transparency are top priorities,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the executive director of the CDPHE, in her summertime announcement. She said the review could take at least 12 weeks.

The state also said it would develop a public report and include various medical and emergency experts in the review.

But the FOX31 Problem Solvers reported multiple times on the delays in getting the project started.

Months after the announcement, the state had not selected anyone for its review committee.

The use of ketamine became a topic of attention following the death of Elijah McClain. He was confronted by three Aurora police officers who used the carotid hold to subdue him, injected with ketamine by paramedics, and later died.

FOX31’s Problem Solver Lori Jane Gliha has researched the topic and accumulated a library of information on the use of the drug, what experts say about it and how the state’s policies have been evaluated since McClain’s death and other questionable incidents.

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