Substance Use Services
Substance use affects every part of our Jefferson County community. Between 2018 and 2020, the number of overdoses (OD) from any drug exceeded 3,523 of our loved ones, friends, neighbors and coworkers. Research released by the Colorado Health Institute and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment show that at least 1,477 Coloradans died of drug OD in 2020 – the most overdose deaths ever recorded in the state and 38% increase from 2019.
Opioid overdose deaths increased by 54% between 2019 and 2020, and are the result of fentanyl, a powerful opioid increasingly found in counterfeit Rx narcotics, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. In 2020, OD’s involving fentanyl made up around 68% of all opioid-related deaths. Between 2019 and 2020, OD deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled.
While much attention is focused on opioid OD’s, our communities have also seen an increase in the rates of overdose for alcohol and stimulants as well. This, combined with an increasing amount of the presence of fentanyl found in stimulants has led to a significant crisis.
Addressing the Crisis
JCPH is committed to working with the community and our partners to address the substance use crisis. Utilizing a combination of direct services to the community, systems-level collaboration and policy leadership, JCPH continues to evolve its services and interventions to best meet the needs of those who live, work and play in our county.
- Jefferson County Substance Use Partnership: The JCSUP is a multi-sector, “collective impact” coalition focused on facilitation collaboration to improve the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs, those in recovery and their communities. The coalition focuses on OD prevention, increasing access to treatment, improving county data capacity and providing substance use education to community members and stakeholders across the county.
- Lakewood Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Pilot Program: The LEAD pilot program is a collaboration between Lakewood Police, the Community Connection Center and JCPH. This innovative pilot program focuses on diverting participants who have allegedly committed low-level offenses away from the criminal justice system using comprehensive case management, offering mental health/substance use resources and contingency management interventions to improve outcomes for people who use drugs and live with mental health conditions who otherwise would likely enter the criminal justice system and not receive appropriate services
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription opioids such as oxycodone, morphine and fentanyl can be used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and are often prescribed following surgery or injury, or for health conditions such as cancer. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the acceptance and use of prescription opioids for the treatment of chronic, non-cancer pain, such as back pain or osteoarthritis, despite serious risks and the lack of evidence about their long-term effectiveness.
Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted to them. Once addicted, it can be hard to stop. Taking too many prescription opioids can stop a person’s breathing — leading to death.
In addition to the risks of addiction, abuse and overdose, the use of prescription opioids can have many serious side effects, even when taken as directed.
The best ways to prevent opioid overdose deaths are to improve opioid prescribing, reduce exposure to opioids, prevent misuse and treat opioid use disorder.
Resources for Health Care Providers
- Opioid Overdose Prevention (CDPHE)
- Training for Prescribers (CDC)
- Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (CDC)
- Infographic: Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain (CDC)