More than 1 million Colorado adults (26.9 percent) say that they, a loved one, or a close friend has been addicted to alcohol or drugs in their lifetime. Of these, 44.5 percent said they or a loved one struggled with prescription painkillers or heroin. More than 200,000 adults in Colorado know someone who has died from a prescription painkiller or heroin overdose.
Yet 95,000 Coloradans said they went without needed substance use treatment in 2019.
Stigma is a major reason people go without care. Many Coloradans are not comfortable talking about problems related to substance use or are concerned about someone finding out they have a problem.
Policy: Substance use continues to be a major focus for the Colorado legislature. House Bill 18-1136 aims to expand inpatient and residential treatment for substance use disorder starting July 2020 by covering it as part of the Medicaid benefit package.
Data: Substance use in Colorado communities hits women especially hard. Women are almost twice as likely as men to say that they, a loved one, or a friend has been addicted to prescription painkillers or heroin (14.6 percent off women compared with 8.4 percent of men). Women are also more likely to report that they or someone they know has taken prescription painkillers or heroin, taken any drugs by injection with a needle, or received emergency medical treatment due to drug use.