Jefferson County, Colo. – The Jefferson County Substance Use Partnership (JCSUP) — a program spearheaded by Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) — Jefferson County Communities That Care (CTC) coalition, Lakewood Police Department and other partners across the metro region have identified an increase in fatal overdoses involving the powerful opioid, fentanyl. We want to make sure our community members, especially people who use illicit drugs, are aware of this serious increased risk and provide information on how to reduce the risk of overdose.
“First and foremost, we want to get the word out to folks in our community that our Department has found this deadly substance more and more in counterfeit pills and other illicit drugs, and people are dying when they use them,” said Sergeant Michelle Current, Lakewood Police Department and Policy & Substance Availability Workgroup chair for CTC. “It’s devastating, and we want to address this growing issue so that more lives are not lost.”
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, 1,384 Jefferson County residents died from overdose from 2000-2019, including nearly 100 individuals last year alone.
“This increase in overdoses related to fentanyl is alarming, and we want to make sure we are providing our community the information and tools they need to lower the risk of accidentally overdosing or dying from overdose,” said Michael Miller, Opioid Initiatives Coordinator, JCPH. “While the use of illegal drugs is discouraged, there are some important things people who use drugs as well as those who spend time with them can do to lower the risk of overdose and other harmful consequences.”
Fentanyl is a potent, synthetic opioid pain medication that can be present in many substances purchased anywhere other than a pharmacy, including but not limited to heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax and other common narcotics such as methamphetamine, MDMA and cocaine. It can be fatal, even in small doses.
People who use drugs should:
People who spend time with those who use drugs, such as family members and loved ones, should:
Residents can get free naloxone/Narcan, fentanyl test strips as well as access to local substance use treatment resources by completing this online form. The JCSUP, in collaboration with CTC, is also providing free “Save a Life” kits to young adults in the county who are at risk of overdose. For more information about the kits, visit the JCSUP’s website here.
About the Jefferson County Substance Use Partnership
The Jeffco Substance Use Partnership formed in 2018 to develop a community-informed and community-driven response to the rise in overdose in Jefferson County. The coalition is developed and supported primarily by Jefferson County Public Health in partnership with other state, county and local agencies, businesses, legislators, officials and community members. To learn more, visit www.jcsup.org.
About Jefferson County Communities That Care
Jefferson County Communities That Care is a coalition comprised of more than 100 stakeholders, community members, key leaders and youth. Partners use a structured, evidence-based community change process focused on preventing substance misuse, sexual/relationship violence and hopelessness/anxiety among youth in our community by reducing risk factors and improving protective factors.
About Jefferson County Public Health
Public health is what we as a society do collectively to prevent illness and premature death and promote health in our neighborhoods and communities. Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is a nationally accredited health department committed to promoting and protecting health across the lifespan for all people through prevention, education and partnerships. To learn more about JCPH visit https://www.jeffco.us/public-health. You can also follow JCPH on Twitter @JeffcoPH, Instagram @JeffcoPH and Facebook @jeffcopublichealth.